Women smallholder farmers comprise an average of 43 percent of the agricultural labour force of developing countries. In Africa in particular, many communities depend on women to grow most of the food they eat, yet they continue struggle with lack of access to capital, land, agricultural inputs, tools and technology needed to move up to large scale farming.
In Muwena, a town of Livingstone Province in the South of Zambia, Women smallholder farmers have been cultivating peanut on a small scale using traditional outmoded means for consumption and sale. However these methods prevent the women from earning any meaningful income to meet their social needs and ensure household food security.
In 2014 Children with Future in Zambia (CWFiZ) a local NGO working to promote the economic and social welfare of vulnerable groups, particularly women and orphans, received a grant from the African Women’s Development (AWDF) for a capacity building project for women farmers in Muwena.
CWFiZ, worked with 225 women smallholder peanut farmers, training them in improved farming methods and the processing and marketing of peanut to increase the efficiency of their farm business.The project aimed to facilitate a transformation of peanut farming in the Muwena community to achieve a greater degree of food security among selected women smallholder farmers while increasing competitiveness in the domestic markets.
The program sought to build the skills of smallholder women farmers, training them in improved production and post-harvest handling practices that include improved plant seed varieties and access to quality agricultural inputs, tools and support services.
The project also provided women smallholder farmers with a peanut butter processing plant and a housing facility. The women have come out with test peanut butter products which were exhibited at fair in Lusaka in June 2015. The product has attracted a lot of attention from consumers, a positive sign for the women cultivators and processors.
The label of the peanut butter has the inscription ‘Nsabo Yetu’, meaning ‘our wealth,’ reflective of the benefit derived from the women’s hard work. The product has been certified awaiting large scale production and marketing.