Kadevi has been a farmer all his life but has never had enough to provide for even the basic needs of his family of eight. He was working on his rented property the day that International Literacy and Development’s (ILAD) director of the Rural Agricultural Development Program showed up. When the director began development of the agricultural demonstration and research farm, Kadevi couldn’t help but worry that this man would soon force him from his land by buying his land from the landowner. Kadevi and his family would be displaced. In anger, Kadevi turned to voodoo curses. “In three days you will die!” he shouted at the director. Three days passed. He had a tire blow out but he was not injured.
The Rural Agricultural Development Program began to prepare the demonstration and research farm and paid local farmers to come work. Kadevi didn’t dare ask the man he had cursed for a job, but his family was hungry. He couldn’t refuse when his wife and children decided to earn wages by working on the farm. To Kadevi’s surprise, the director not only welcomed the family to work but also to join in the daily meal prepared for the workers. This was something that Kadevi had never seen before.
Over the next few years, Kadevi learned that the director, who was from the area, had a university degree in agricultural engineering. He also realized that this man had come to teach the farmers how to increase their income. Kadevi had never known anyone who had gone to university and returned to the village to share knowledge. Kadevi’s curiosity was piqued as to why this man would care enough about village people to give up a good job in the city or in a western nation.
Kadevi also began to notice that those who were applying the new methods learned on the demonstration farm were beginning to receive profits from their agricultural activities. In fact, people who used to plant corn on their land for a profit of $40 were now planting organic pineapples and reaping $400 in profit! Last year, Kadevi decided to take a loan from ILAD’s Rural Agricultural Development Program for organic peanuts. He not only paid back the loan, he was able to buy the land he had been renting! The farm program which he had feared would take away his livelihood has now helped to make him a landowner! This year he has taken agricultural loans for peanuts and pineapples and hopes to improve his home by adding a new tin roof rather than the thatched roof that is quick to catch fire.
Daily ILAD’s program staff in Togo hear stories of great impact like Kadevi’s. We know that we are making an impact, when our clients are exclaiming as Kadevi did, that they have been saved “from our sufferings through pineapples and peanuts.”