Violet Msusa (pictured here with her harvested bags of maize), 46, of Mbwani partner village in Malawi, is a single mother with three children. She took her first Vision, Commitment and Action Workshop (VCAW) in 2007 and joined the farm inputs program of THP-Malawi the same year. In 2007, her household maize production per acre per year was about 350 kgs; this number remained consistently low because Violet grew low-yielding local varieties with no agricultural inputs, due to the high costs of improved farm inputs and lack of access to new farming technology training.
In 2007, Violet learned new farming techniques at the epicenter community garden and decided to take a loan of agricultural inputs – fertilizer and maize seeds – for her garden. She planted on a half-acre plot and, utilizing her newly practiced agricultural techniques. She doubled her production to 700 kgs of maize grain, despite using only half of her normal plot size.
Violet repaid her loans in full with profits from the sale of the maize and has repeated the process in subsequent years. She continues to register high yields from her crops, not only feeding her family but generating enough excess to sell for an income of K30,000 (about US$200) per harvest season. Violet has been using the income to send her three children to school.
Access to epicenter programs such as agricultural trainings and microfinance unleash the natural potential of women like Violet, providing them with the resources they need to lead lives of self-reliance. Invest now in these resources and these women.
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December 29, 2011