New market opportunity gives hope to

a better life for groundnut producers

 

By Charles Musonda – Operations Manager, & Mainecy Hampeyo - Operations Manager, Lusaka Region

Additional reporting by Gift Chanda – Communications Officer

Women farmers in Kapiri Mposhi, Central Zambia are leading the way in groundnut production, benefiting from transparent and assured marketing opportunities that are helping them provide for their families.

The marketing opportunities, created by New Rotation Zambia (NRZ), have also provided farmers an opportunity for growth. In the 2015/2016 farming season New Rotation Zambia (NRZ) purchased over 630 metric tonne of shelled groundnuts supplied by 3,000 farmers in Southern, Central and Lusaka Provinces.

Yvonne
 From the income raised from groundnut sales, Yvonne Imambo powered her house using solar and bought some household and kitchen utensilsa

Because groundnuts are predominantly grown by women, the presence of an improved and structured market for groundnuts provided them with an opportunity for growth. In Mafita village of Kapiri Mposhi, Yvonne Imambo, 41, explained that the presence of an improved and structured market for groundnuts enabled her to raise income and expand.

“I have been growing groundnuts for a long time but and the biggest challenge I faced was selling my produce. We would take our produce to Kabwe, which is very far from here. Even then, if you managed to raise K50 from a 50kg bag, you would be very lucky,” she says.

After years of struggling to market the crop, Yvonne was last year linked to NRZ and managed to sell 4.5 tonnes of shelled bags of groundnuts to raise about K6,000.

“After selling my groundnuts to NRZ, I managed to buy several household items I didn’t have. I managed to buy a solar unit for K895 to power my house, a battery for K840, as well as household furnishers. I also established a small grocery shop,” she narrates.

“I have found more benefit in selling to NRZ because I am raising more profits. This year I planted five tonnes and I expect to double my harvest.”

Her neighbour, Jackeline Mwemba, who planted 0.055 tonnes of groundnut seeds in 2015/16 farming season and expects a good harvest.

“My plan in the next five years is to buy a tractor from this groundnut production,” she declared.

Apart from a stable and assured market, the low price of inputs also encouraged farmers to grow groundnuts, raise income to diversify. For instance, Mutinta Mwemba managed to diversify into livestock after she purchased her first cow last year. In the case of 66-year-old Falles Chakazamba who lives in Chulukamilonga village in Rufunsa District, 2.06 metric tonnes was sold through an NRZ aggregator in the community, and earned an income of K10,888.

Her inputs were worth about K1,000 bringing the total profit to about 90 per cent. Chakazamba explained that this was the first experience of handling a large amount of cash at once as she previously sold her groundnuts on the open market where the price was determined by traders and middlemen.

“Despite having problems finding a good market for my crop, I still grew groundnuts because it was cheaper to manage especially by us women compared to maize. But now that NRZ is offering a ready market, I have the confidence to even expand my field and make more money,” she said.

From the income raised, Chakazamba bought some kitchen utensils that she had longed to buy for years, and paid tuition fees for her child who is at the University of Zambia. She planned to plant 0.12tonnes of groundnut seed in the 2017/2018 farming season. In order to efficiently reach more farmers, especially women, NRZ engaged 42 aggregators on commission and provides mobile buying services in Kapiri, Mkushi, Kabanze, Moobola and Simaubi areas in the target provinces.

The company has also engaged field extension officers to provide extension services, monitor and train farmers in Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), and has further equipped lead farmers with a training manual which they use to train others. To help increase the confidence and gain the trust of the farmers, the company also invested in calibrated scales to promote transparency in pricing. Following the success recorded in the 2015/2016 season, NRZ plans to extend its operations to areas such as Muchinga and Northern Provinces in order to attain the overall target of 12,000 groundnut growers.

The company has established additional buying points using Musika supported moveable sheds as aggregation centres in addition to increasing the number of community aggregators.

NRZ was also among the four output companies that developed improved supply chain relationships with women collectives in 2016, with over 5,000 women participating in these supply chains.