On a trip to Zambia I met with Florence Tembo. To me, she symbolizes the strength of an African farmer.
“I provide for a family of nine children and two adults. My husband is unemployed. To expand my agricultural skills, I went to a training course organized by Sylvia Banda a Zambian entrepreneur and social activist. Mrs Banda’s goal is to get local farmers, mainly female, to expand their businesses by promoting and developing traditional Zambian food. Non-indigenous crops often need more water and fertilisers to give a good yield, while traditional crops are more drought resistant. After the training, women get together into farmers’ clubs where we help each other and share resources such as the solar dryers used to preserve fruit and vegetables. Before, I mainly grew maize and pumpkins, today I’ve expanded my crops to include ground nuts, cow peas, sweet potatoes and okra. Mrs Banda has taught us how to process and dry the food so it doesn’t lose nutritional value. Food security at my house is much better now. I’ve also expanded my fields and I employ a couple of women to help me on the farm. Most of the crops I sell on the regular market nearby it’s quick money. I use the money I earn to pay for school fees and buy school material for the children.”