We believe that working with professional farmer cooperatives is an investment in a stable, prosperous agri-sector, in the economy and in wider society. Ambitious organised farmers across the world want to develop, become entrepreneurs and business partners, add value and move up the supply chain. This has a positive impact on economic growth, poverty alleviation, inclusiveness, food and nutrition security, and climate resilience and mitigation.
We interviewed 9 ambitious farmers from Tanzania (5), Kenya (2) and Ethiopia (2) to find out if their situations have changed since becoming members of a cooperative. Each week, you can read an interview.
Joyce Mbembati (54) is a farmer in Itipingi, a village in the Makambako region in Tanzania. She and her husband have 1 child. Together they have 26 chickens and 1 pig. They grow a variety of vegetables: 1 ½, acre of maize, 1 ½ acre of sunflower, 1 acre of avocado and ¼ acre of cabbage.
Since 2020, Joyce has been a member of ITIPINGI AMCOS. She explains: “The opportunities available within the cooperative such as loans, inputs, and education are what led me to become a member. But also because of the exchange experience and ease in obtaining education concerning agriculture through extension officers.”
A few years ago, Joyce's economic situation was dire. She cultivated only one acre of maize and couldn't properly tend to it due to her lack of education and timely access to agricultural inputs. “I had no guaranteed income and it was difficult because I was dependent on only one crop, which was maize.”
Her situation changed when she received training on how to improve agriculture and therefore increase her income. “I became aware of the importance of avocado cultivation and now I have an avocado farm with 84 trees and I started selling this year. I sold 1200 kg and enjoyed a guaranteed income. I have opened a bank account where I deposit money from avocado sales. Through my success, especially in improving avocado farming, many people are interested and convinced to even join the cooperative so that they can also benefit from various opportunities. I know that at least 6 members had similar experiences.”
Joyce wishes that within her cooperative they will find many young leaders because they are the ones who will help to take the cooperative further. She also hopes that the cooperative will improve more services to avocado farming by having an irrigation system to ensure she will get more quality yields.
Joyce concludes: “Joining the cooperative can help a person receive benefits, because the government and various development stakeholders look for cooperatives to provide with training and various opportunities. I wish all people joined a cooperative, especially my fellow women.”
Read also the stories of other farmers: