* These communities, especially the women, did not have proper agricultural knowledge, which was increasing the vicious cycle of poverty
* So, we thought it wise to bridge that gap by providing support to the women through our agro dealer shops
By Hastings Yobe, MANA
Agwenda Women Input Loan Initiative (AWILI) — in collaboration with government agriculture extension workers — has embarked on a mission to help women in accessing certified farm inputs such as improved seeds and fertiliser in local communities, through the organisation’s agro dealer shops.
In an interview, Sungeni Monamo said the initiative has come in after the organisation observed some challenges and gaps that women face in accessing farm inputs.
“These communities, especially the women, did not have proper agricultural knowledge which was increasing the vicious cycle of poverty. So, we thought it wise to bridge that gap by providing support to the women through our agro dealer shops.
“The women come to our shops to collect the inputs and after they register good yields they bring back harvests to our shops as a form of the agreed payment.
“Then we buy the remaining yields from them if they are willing to sell,” said Monamo adding that AWILI is teaching the women in collaboration with extension workers to make their own chilli and rice nurseries in order to broaden their agricultural knowledge.
The initiative has helped the women to realise increased yields, while at the same time relieving them from financial stress due to high seed and fertiliser prices as the initiative is providing them with such.
Former President Joyce Banda has been urging women in the country to engage themselves in chilli business saying it is one of the most marketable businesses.
Currently, AWILI is supporting at least 2,225 women with agricultural inputs across the country and it is also working with Centre for Agricultural Transformation and GIZ Empowering Youth in Agribusiness Project.