When I met Anita recently on her farm in Kafue, Zambia – I was rather star-struck. The short film interview with Anita that IDE made last year has been a real hit. When shown at a recent fundraising event in Canada the audience applauded it – unusual for a 2 minute film… See the film here (Anita comes half way through) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2eBGAkLsA5Q
However, I soon warmed to her charm and immense enthusiasm for farming. Anita described her increasingly profitable journey in smallholder farming ‘we used to just have a small kitchen garden, using a bucket. After IDE came and showed us the benefits of irrigation we realised that farming is a business and can make lots of money’.
In the last few years since she first purchased a treadle pump she is now earning over $700 a season from her irrigated vegetables, and her total farm income (including a new seed multiplication business) to over $2200. True to her businesslike approach Anita has continued to invest in her business ‘we never used that money – but have a problem transporting produce the 14km to the nearest market – so we bought a second hand car’
Anita is also a great demonstration of the power of the mobile phone. Throughout our discussion she took a number of calls on her mobile, she explained that the phone enabled her to ‘get the latest market prices, and if someone wants tomatoes they just give a call and I send my boys with a couple of crates’.
Now not only is Anita getting worldwide fame – but she is spreading her learning and experience about irrigated farming to her neighbour farmers. She often hosts demonstration days on her farm to show others how to also achieve the same success.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
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 )