Women’s Farmers’ Clubs Cuanza Norte and Cuanza Sul
Women’s Farmers’ Clubs Cuanza Norte and Cuanza Sul promote economic empowerment among largely female subsistence farmers. The project provides training in modern and appropriate farming techniques, improved seed varieties, suitable irrigation systems, guidance with regard to processing and marketing together with systems to ensure sustainability. Health, nutrition and literacy are key compone.
Women Farmers’ Clubs Cuanza Sul and Cuanza Norte were established to assist smallholders emerge from years of subsistence farming and achieve a level of sustainable surplus agriculture. Training in modern, conservation farming techniques is addresses multiple issues including climate change while components such as the introduction of improved seed varieties, suitable irrigation systems, guidance with regard to processing and marketing, literacy and health lessons and contributing to all round improvements. In the first semester of 2020, Women Farmers’ Clubs in the two provinces maintained the level of membership at 1,250 in Cuanza Sul and 1,500 in Cuanza Norte. Club committees in Cuanza Sul assumed ever more responsibility for activities, while training sessions and field visits continued in all areas. Seed banks, previously established in Cuanza Sul and Cuanza Norte, provided clubs with seeds whenever needed. They are an important step towards sustainability. All clubs had adequate irrigation solutions during the semester, relying on rain water at the start of the year and having KickStart pumps during preparation for the later horticulture season. During individual field visits, the project leaders monitored the use of conservation farming techniques and found a majority of farmers had adopted several of the techniques. It was also evident that clubs and individual farmers had diversified their production and lengthened the productive season by combining agriculture with horticulture. Individual stories gathered from members testify to increased production. Clubs in Cuanza Sul and Cuanza Norte had functioning animal pass-on loan system. All clubs were registered with the Provincial/Municipal agriculture development extension (IDA/EDA) institutes. The process of registration as associations is a long and complicated progress and is ongoing.
Farmers, and especially women farmers, cannot achieve their potential if not fully fit and well-nourished, or if they have to spend large amount of time taking care of sick kin. Hundreds of farmers declared they had begun using their new knowledge about nutrition, and hundreds more could demonstrate knowledge of disease prevention, especially with respect to malaria. In addition to instruction in conservation agriculture, club members receive new and improved seed varieties and Kickstart water pumps. Furthermore, members are encouraged to rear animals through a pass-on loan system, whereby a few farmers begin breeding livestock and pass on the surplus to fellow club members who repeat the process.The sale of surplus is promoted so individuals and clubs can earn cash, which can be used to pay for food, household furniture and equipment, medicine, school materials, a fresh supply of seeds, or whatever is required.