Benita Njaame, a 40 year old mother of five children, is a small-scale farmer. One day her friend visited and invited her to join a five day training session, facilitated by PEPZ and delivered by AgBIT Incubation Trust, about good agricultural practices being held at the nearby school. The course included topics such as improving crop productivity, post-harvesting handling and management, food safety and quality. Every day Benita would share the topics learned with her husband and in due course Benita paid K100 ($10) to become a member of the local cooperative.
Benita and her husband had been growing maize but struggled to make profits from their harvest. The course encouraged her to think about planting other crops. She gathered together enough money to purchase vegetable and tomato seedlings from the cooperative greenhouse and by applying the training that the workshop had provided, Benita was soon harvesting over 250 boxes of tomatoes, with plenty left over in her garden for the family. Indeed, the harvest was so abundant that locally hired vehicles had to make numerous trips to transport her produce to town.
From her tomato harvest last season Benita accrued profits of K56,250 ($5,620), which enabled her to build a bigger house, drill a borehole and buy a car to transport her tomatoes.
AgBIT Incubation Trust and PEPZ had realised that if they could help farmers increase their productivity, not only would there be better incomes but farmers would also be encouraged to employ more people as a result. Benita’s success is a great example of this as her domestic income increased dramatically and she employed three more people.
With the profits from the next season’s crops Benita plans on buying a tractor to increase the amount they can plant as their current capacity is limited by the number of cows they have. They also want to buy a hammer mill to produce their own mealie meal and they are hoping to acquire a solar water pump so that they can water their crops with ease.
Key success points
- New skills and techniques learned
- Unprofitable maize farming replaced with profitable tomato crop
- Hired 3 new workers
- Invested profits back into the business and to benefit the family