Triggering Increased Incomes for Women in Nacololo
Nacololo is a small community in Monapo District, Nampula Province in northern Mozambique where 12 hardworking women have created an association to support each other and their community. Similar to many other farmers in the province, a couple of years ago the members of the Nacololo Women’s Association struggled to live from agricultural incomes due to little knowledge of best agricultural practices and lack of high-quality seed. Each woman was responsible for half a hectare of the association’s field and had to walk at least three hours to the nearest village in order to purchase seed. Their lives changed when they became partners of the Feed the Future Mozambique Improved Seeds for Better Agriculture (SEMEAR) project in the 2015/16 season as seed multipliers.
Since they started to multiply seed, the cowpea yields doubled, which allowed each woman to keep enough certified seed for the next season and sell the remaining 320 Kg to local farmers who no longer need to travel long distances to buy seed. With the seed income, women have invested in poultry businesses. In fact, the association became an important enterprise for the entire community. “Soon the improved varieties will expand to the entire Nacololo,” said Rosinha Feliciano. “Now our community is different because we can purchase seed and chickens for dietary diversification.”
Rosinha Feliciano is a very proactive member of the Nacololo Women’s Association, a model farmer and an extension agent. In addition to multiplying cowpea, she also contributed to the participatory selection of improved sesame seeds.
In fact, sesame production is gaining great interest among farmers in Nampula Province due to the current price which is attractive. The SEMEAR project, with support from farmers like Rosinha, has narrowed production of pre-basic and basic seeds to three varieties (Rama, Lindi and Nicaragua). Because seeds are locally multiplied, Rosinha sells a kilo at 80 MZN, which is at least twice the grain’s price. With the income, she is gradually expanding her fields and she dreams of “becoming an emergent farmer by cultivating five or more hectares.”
Recently, Rosinha participated in an international event held in Nampula by SEMEAR’s lead-implementing partner (IITA), which allowed her to exchange knowledge and experiences with other professionals in the agricultural field. She is planning to produce soybean in the 2017/18 season because “I tasted, and I learned how to cook soy cakes, and I have never thought that we could use this crop to bake!” In the future, Rosinha aims at creating a profitable business for the Nacololo Women’s Association with soybean derivatives, but for now she is very grateful for “having met in-person the Minister of Agriculture at the event.”