Why she decided to grow organic…..
After years of working in development Nyamah decided to move back her home in Libera to participate in the development of her country. Hear more about her journey with farming and working with Organic Matters.
Sankofa farms was established by Nyamah Dunbar in October 2016 with the concept of farming organically. Sankofa is a Ghanian symbol that means to ‘go back and take’ which is how Nyamah is going back to nature to grow her crops.
Her vision was simple; ‘food is medicine’ so she wanted produce food without harmful chemicals or hormones using organic methods. Initially she established her farm located just off of Robert’s Field Highway using her own methods of organic farming she learned from her work in West Africa.
She noted that many people involved in agriculture don’t understand the ins and outs of their own farm, because they are not physically present. She saw that many people would get frustrated because they were not in involved with the work and overseeing the day to day management. She wanted to understand the physical labor involved in agriculture so she started working alongside her employees to clear the land underneath the hot Liberian sun. She also quit working full time so she could be physically present and focused on her farm. ‘Farming is an investment; you have to prune, nurture and invest in your farm if you want it to be successful’.
By working on her farm and participating in the manual labor, this helped her to empathize with the her employees. She started to have success with her farm but then ran out of manure and she was unsure of how to continue to mission to farm organically. She then heard about Organic Matters, who introduced her to their vermi-composting natural fertilizers and provided farm management consultation. Organic Matters has been working with Nyamah since July of 2017. Within time she started to have more success on her farm and has even reached to the point of starting to produce her own compost.
Her vision for Liberia:
Agriculture should work to create food sovereignty not just sustainability.
Food sovereignty ‘ allows communities control over the way food is produced, traded and consumed. It creates a food system that is designed to help people and the environment rather than make profits for multinational corporations. She foresees using this same methodology to train nearby farmers in agriculture field training practices on the benefits of farming organically. By working with farmers she hopes to change their mind-set and practices so they know harmful chemicals don’t always equate to successful farming and they too can have food sovereignty. Many pesticides and other chemicals used in Liberia and across the continent are illegal in other developed countries but are still in use in Sub-Saharan Africa. This has led many who like Nyamah and Organic Matters, are part of a movement concerned about various diseases that are linked to use of the chemicals used on our foods. Pesticides have been linked to a wide range of human health hazards, ranging from short-term impacts such as headaches and nausea to chronic impacts like cancer, reproductive abnormalities, and endocrine disruption. Pesticides can cause many types of cancer in humans. Some of the most prevalent forms include leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, brain, bone, breast, ovarian, prostate, testicular and liver cancers. (World Bank & Ministry of Agriculture Liberia, 2018)
For Nyamah, 2019 brings a new farm being established in Bong country to ramp up her business! Her vision for her farm is to get to a point to market her produce as organic, nutritious and healthy without harmful chemicals. Nyamah knows that through hard work and perseverance she will be more involved in organic agriculture in Liberia and beyond.