In January, we heard from Elizabeth, the manager of WAMBOMA Cooperative who sent us updates from two farmers in Namwai village, Tumaini and Marry. Our last update on the project focused on resilience and hope in the face of COVID19. In this post, Tumaini and Marry reflect on how their lives have changed since joining the cooperative, and the challenges they continue to face. For both women, the WAMBOMA Cooperative has facilitated a development in their farming skills, allowing them to generate sustainable income, improve their wellbeing and that of their families. They have been able to move from their mud homes, install electricity and running water and build toilets.
Their stories illustrate some of the key objectives of the project such as enabling women to access and use new growing skills, run their farms profitably and confidently understand their rights.
Tumaini Ernest Mwandri | 37 years of age | Married with three children
“I own a three-hectare farm with a three-room house in Namwai. I depend on vegetable farming to generate my economic income. I cultivate green beans, green vegetables, and I also have a dairy farm (two cows and two calves). Since I joined the WAMBOMA farming co-op I have increased my knowledge and skills on modern, profitable vegetable cultivation hence increasing my income.
In 2019, I was able to renovate my house after selling 5 sacks of peas worth 90,0000 shillings and 5 sacks of beans worth 450,000 shillings*. In 2022 through the WAMBOMA shop, I was able to sell 3 buckets of red beans and green vegetables with a profit of 5000 shillings every week that supports my household expenditure; for example, electricity installation that costed 28,000 shillings. On the dairy farm, currently I get only 6 litersper day, which is nearly all used for home consumption. I expect that in the near future, through profitable modern farming, I will be able to get 12 litres of milk per day.
(*3000 Tanzanian shillings is approximately £1).
However, after receiving training on Marriage law specifically on ownership of property, we decided to sell one cow costing 1,000,000 shillings and renovated our home washrooms worth 958,000 shillings for hygiene improvement. Despite these achievements, climate change is a big challenge that has affected vegetable cultivation due to unusually heavy rainfall and drought. But I continue working hard without giving up to improve my family’s wellbeing.”
Marry Edward Kweka | 45 years of age
Marry Kweka, (45yrs) is married to a farmer in Namwai Village. “Apart from benefiting from modern skills in vegetable production and entrepreneurship, I also obtained skills in human rights knowledge from KWIECO. I own three-quarters of an acre of land, where I produce different varieties of vegetables including green cabbage, tomatoes, pepper and spinach among many others.
WAMBOMA’s modern horticulture farming project has contributed much to my farming activities. In the last season, I cultivated pea seeds and sold three sacks costing 1,500,000 shillings. On the dry peas I was able to obtain profit that enabled me to buy 6 trucks of construction sand costing 480,000 shillings. In 2019 I was able to buy one pig (60000 shillings) to use up vegetable leftovers and to gain another source of income. In 2020 I had 5 pigs although two died and I sold one at 50000 shillings. To date, I have one big pig, and its two babies. In 2021 I tried for the first time to cultivate soya beans.
Through farming, I have been able to take care of my children and provide those basic needs and other necessities. Through the WAMBOMA modern horticulture farming project, I am currently producing more vegetables and utilizing vegetable leftovers to feed my pigs thereby reducing their food expenses. I am now planning to build my five-room residential house from the revenues collected from WAMBOMA modern horticulture farming project.
I would like to insist women join this unique project to improve their lives and the lives of their families.“
To find out more about our project in Tanzania, click here.