Trifonia Sibande, age 43, and her husband Digani Sibande, live in Ngwata village, Lundazi district, in Zambia’s Eastern Province. Trifonia struggled to provide for her family before joining the farmer field school and agribusiness savings and credit group organized by the Production, Finance, and Improved Technology Plus (PROFIT+) project. Implemented by ACDI/VOCA, the USAID Feed the Future PROFIT+ project improves the productivity of smallholder farmers by linking them to markets.
In the 2007-2008 farming season, Trifonia grew two hectares of cotton for Cargil through an outgrower scheme supported by PROFIT+. Though she produced 15 bales, the yield was not enough to take care of her family’s daily needs. She was able, however, to start a small grocery store with the cotton proceeds, though the margins made from the new business were still not adequate to sustain her.
PROFT+ Training Helps Woman Farmer Increase Income
In 2012, Trifonia joined the PROFIT+ farmer field school through which she learned new farming techniques. That year, she earned ZMW2,500 from her grocery business. She participated in a government-promoted Fertilizer Input Support Program (FISP) to acquire fertilizer and maize seed. She started planting early, ripping, and spacing the plants out properly. She became successful in her farming, and by 2015-2016, she expanded her farm to grow maize and soybeans, in addition to cotton.
PROFIT+-Supported Woman Farmer Starts Value-Added Business to Process Maize for Community
After selling her produce in May 2016, Trifonia acquired an asset loan through linkages she’d established through PROFIT+ to purchase a hammer mill and a de-huller. She now processes maize into maize meal and bran. She provides these services to 2,280 farming households in her community. She earns approximately ZMW4,950 per month from her processing activities and sells maize bran to local community members and in Lusaka.
Trifonia’s life has completely changed since she has diversified her income sources. She continues her grocery business and farms soy, cotton, and maize. She joined a PROFIT+-facilitated agribusiness savings group in 2015, led by a female community agrodealer (CA) in her village. She accessed ZMW1,600 from the group to boost her grocery business. As of September 2016, she has ZMW12,000 worth of stock in her shop.
Successful Woman Farmer Seeks to Train and Empower Others
She is committed to serving her community, especially women. She has become a coordinator of a Conservation Farming Unit to train farmers on farming technologies. She also works with her local CA to train other farmers using PROFIT+’s demo plot. She is the treasurer of the agribusiness savings and credit group, and trains cooperative members in chicken feed production. In addition, she employs three people to operate the hammer mill.
She plans to acquire a tractor to provide tillage services to her community. Trifonia and her husband now make decisions together and involve their children.
“My husband encourages me and advises me to work hard so that I should not default on the payment of loan,” Trifonia says happily.