Delegate Bachuo'ntai section: Mr Tabi Mbi Benson and his wife

The President of Bachuo'ntai section, Agbor Edward Enon, giving an introductory speech

  Eyong Cecilia Ako, Vice-President MACEFCOOP, Bachuon Akagbe section:

I am 36 years old and a single mother with 6 children. I stopped my studies at secondary school when I became pregnant with my first child. But now I am a primary school teacher and shareholder of MACEFCOOP. I am one of the two women of the Executive Committee of my section and I have just been elected Vice President of MACEFCOOP during the AGM in January 2005.
I joined MACEFCOOP thanks to my son. My late senior brother was Vice President of this section. He used to take my son to the section meetings, who then became interested in MACEFCOOP. My brother bought the shares for him and he became shareholder when he was 19 years old. In 2002, my son left for University to study Economics and he asked me to attend section meetings on his behalf. I became interested in the cooperative services because of the provision of chemicals at discounted prices, purchase of produce at good prices and the use of good scales. I then registered and became a shareholder of Bachuo section soon after.

Before, I had a cocoa farm of 1ha, which I inherited from my mother. Through the training on farm management that I benefited from MACEFCOOP, I was able to extend it gradually to 3 ha. The cooperative teaches us when to spray, how to spray and what type of chemicals to use. I followed a calendar of spray which the Production/Diversification Officer gave us and now I have a better yield. In 2002, I produced 5 bags of cocoa, then 12 bags in 2003 and 15 bags of cocoa last season 2004. I am planning to further extend my farm.
My cocoa farm is around 5 miles from my house and I go to the farm on Saturdays. I hire labour to help me clear and spray my farm and harvest my produce. During holidays, my children will also help me.

I have recently started a palm oil nursery at home and I am currently clearing another farm where I will be cultivating nuts. I also cultivate cassava, corn and cocoyam mostly for home consumption. Around 60% of my income comes from cocoa and 40 % from food-crops. All my children go to school but one of them is currently at home because of temporary financial problems; he will go to University very soon, when I am able to pay his fees.
I am Adviser to a Woman Group which is involved in food-crop activities. I am encouraging some of the women to have a cocoa farm and be member of MACEFCOOP. Now three widows have started their cocoa farm.
I get a lot of benefits being a member of MACEFCOOP: chemicals at subsidised prices, education, fair trade prices and genuine scales. Last year for example, LBAs were buying at lower rate using bad scales; sometimes reducing the weight by 10kg.
I expect MACEFCOOP to grow more and more. Since I devoted my mind and I love MACEFCOOP, I must carry out my duties as a member and leader.