Supporting Malawian women farmers
INVEST Malawi project is promoting sustainable agricultural practices to help smallholder farmers increase their incomes. Rosemary Kanyama is a farmer from Gandali Village, Mchinji District and a member of Kasekese Co-operative. She has benefited from training in the adoption of good agricultural practices and has managed to double her agricultural production.
Rosemary’s household is now more food secure and she is able to generate additional revenue by selling her surplus production locally. Rosemary sells her produce through the local co-operative, which buys from its members and negotiates contracts with large companies. As a result, farmers like Rosemary are able to get better prices for their agricultural produce compared to selling through local vendors.
An increase in the level of production has raised new challenges for Rosemary and her family – storage capacity. Using the profits she was able to realize over time, Rosemary constructed a storage facility. Improved storage capacity has further contributed to an increase in her revenues and she is now planning to build another storage facility, which she intends to rent out to local retail shops.
Rosemary is also a member of a Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA), which is supported by the project. A loan from the newly formed local VSLA has helped her purchase two bicycles that support her household’s transportation needs.
Rosemary received training on financial management for smallholder farms and was subsequently elected as the treasurer of her co-operative. Recognizing her leadership position, Rosemary took it upon herself to advance gender equality in her co-operative, by demonstrating that women can do very well in both leadership and agricultural production roles. Rosemary tells us that following the gender sensitization trainings offered by INVEST Malawi she sees a lot of improvement in the decision-making process in her household.
“When we get money either from VSLA loans or produce sales, my husband and I sit down and plan things together to achieve our vision. This is why I can proudly say we have constructed our own desired warehouse”, said Rosemary.