Today I met Brian Kabeta on his farm near Pemba, a couple of hours drive south of the Zambian capital Lusaka.
Brian is one of IDE’s success stories: Before IDE introduced him to the treadle pump, he carried buckets of water by Ox cart from the nearby river to a small plot of cabbages and earned no more than $100 cash income. He dramatically increased his income during 2006 – his first season with a pump. By 2007 he had saved enough money to buy a diesel powered pump and now earns over $2000 gross a year from growing a wide range of fruit and vegetables using irrigation.
This year Brian has grown watermelon for the first time. He cut a great deal with the Spar supermarket in the nearby town of Choma to provide 50 melons every couple of days for a great price of $0.33 a kilo (that’s over $1.60 for an average 5kg watermelon). However, he was scratching his head wondering how to get them the 50 km to Choma tomorrow in line with his contract. Yesterday, Brian waited from 6am until 2pm to hitch a lift to the market, time he could have been spent working on his farm.
Being entrepreneurial, and seeing the chance of an empty pick-up truck – we left Brian’s farm with 50 watermelons in the back of our pick up.
Brian’s problem is common across most smallholder farmers when the move from subsistence farming to growing fruit and vegetables for market. For example I met Busu Geleto in Ziway, Ethiopia last year. When Busu doubled her income by using a treadle pump to grow vegetables the first thing she did with her new cash was to invest in a donkey cart, which she was also renting to her neighbour farmers to get their produce to market.
IDE’s origins in the early 80’s was in the development and marketing of low cost donkey carts for refugees in Somalia. Perhaps we should go back to our roots?Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )