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.
Yusta Boniphas Mahuni (40) is married to Jerod Filipo and mother of 6 children, three of whom are boys and three are girls. She is currently dependent on one child. She and her family live in Mwande village in the Ruvuma region. Yusta is growing corn and beans and she is also involved in pig farming. Throughout her life, she and her family have relied on agriculture and livestock to make their living.
In 2020 Yusta began to engage fully in pig farming by obtaining a capital loan from Wino Saccos. She started with 2 pigs. The following year she decided to increase the pig rearing by putting both pigs together with two rented males and after 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days, both pigs gave birth to 13 piglets. 2 of them were a payment for the rented males, 3 were sold and 8 piglets were left to breed together with 2 large sows. In total she owns 10 pigs.
Yusta has benefited a lot through Wino Saccos by borrowing up to 1,700,000 shillings, which she has invested in the cultivation of maize and beans this year (2023). She has also benefited from buying a piano, worth 800,000 shillings for the church choir she sings in. "I was investing this money little by little until I reached the goals I set for myself," said Yusta.
Yusta is a leader of the women's council of Wino Saccos and she was able to benefit from various entrepreneurship trainings as well as methods of depositing and borrowing in her saccos. Due to her pig-keeping activity, she has been able to sell 3 pigs to buy a large mattress and thus have a good place to sleep.
The challenge that Yusta was facing before she participated in the pig-keeping training was the lack of a proper understanding of commercial pig breeding. She did not have good pasture seeds and sheds that did not meet the set standards. She did not know about the way to feed pigs properly, about vaccinations and about diseases and their treatment. This situation caused her losses from year to year.
Yusta is very grateful to Agriterra for helping the women of Wino Saccos by establishing women's councils and thus enabling them to obtain an agricultural and animal husbandry education. “From here onwards I will be able to breed in a modern way by improving the sheds, having the best pasture seeds and treat and vaccinate the pigs timely".
She suggested that in order to help more women engaged in pig farming like her, "Agriterra, together with Wino Saccos, should find 2 or 3 women interested in pig farming and give them the best pigs, distribute the offspring of the best pigs to the interested pig farmers from women's councils. This will make other women outside the women councils join in order to benefit from getting the best pigs.”
She is also grateful for the entrepreneurship training she received. “It gave me a great understanding of modern pig farming, an issue that is of great benefit to me to correct the shortcomings I was facing. The training gave me another perspective on investment and enabled me to increase my income. I thank all the facilitators of the training for working together to give the members of the women’s council the right education and understanding that will help them to make the right business decisions.”
Read also the stories of other farmers: