In Mgamphula in Zambia’s Eastern Province, Jessy Mbewe works hard farming, training smallholder farmers in her community, and running the agribusiness and the savings group she leads.
In 2014, the USAID-funded Production, Finance, and Improved Technology Plus (PROFIT+) project trained Jessy as a Community Agro-Dealer (CA). The training is part of PROFIT+’s efforts to improve smallholder productivity and create sustainable change. As a CA, Jessy is a key resource for her community. She grows maize, sorghum, soybeans, groundnuts, and sunflowers on her demo plot. She has also sold inputs since 2015.
Jessy’s business acumen, coupled with her infectious personality and willingness to share information, makes her a desirable person with whom to do business. It comes as no surprise that through word of mouth, Jessy’s community began to recognize her as successful and entrepreneurial. News traveled far and fast and farmers now walk up to 15 kilometers, and even cross the Malawian border, to buy inputs and learn from Jessy.
Jessy is more than happy to oblige: “Since working with PROFIT+, I have seen a big improvement in sales. I [also] learned conservation, agricultural techniques, crop rotation, ripping, and chemical handling. I bring the technologies I learned from PROFIT+ to the farmers; that’s my job.”
In addition to sharing the improved farming techniques she acquired through her training, Jessy also teaches nutrition, focusing on how to prepare more nutritious meals. Thanks to her engagement with PROFIT+, Jessy has helped many people in her community become more than just food secure: The farmers are now able to provide a variety of nutritious foods for their families. They’ve also increased their incomes and started saving.