Increase of income of Zambian female cotton farmer

24-06-2014 Joyce Chibandika is a farmer in Mumbwa in the Central Region of Zambia, 3 hours driving from Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. She grows cotton plants and raises animals. Joyce is member of Cotton Association of Zambia. This organisation has several study circle groups for their members. Joyce is part of a group of 24 members, of which 20 are women and 4 are men. In the study circle group they share knowledge on increase of production of cotton. New agricultural practices she has used are thinning, weeding and correct planting which resulted in an increase of production from 4 to 6 bags per hectare. She sells the cotton to Dunavant. She uses her animals to plough, so she has no longer to wait for her husband to assist her with preparing the land.

Joyce is 48 years old, married and has eight children, 5 girls and 3 boys. The children are between 10 and 28 years old. Two children are already married and live within her area, the others still go to school. The family has 28 hectares of which only 10 are cultivated. They grow cotton, maize, groundnuts and soybeans. Joyce has 1 hectare of her own where she grows cotton and she owns 10 goats, 10 cows and 20 chickens. She started raising animals in 2003 with a project of Heifer, in which she not only received one cow and one goat, but also trainings about animal husbandry.

Last year her study group started to save collectively. She explains the importance of saving and to earn her own income as a woman. Joyce participated in a gender workshop last year organised by Cotton Association of Zambia. She went there together with her husband and it became very clear to them that she has the right to have her own income. Together with her husband she does the planning of the agricultural activities and distribution of income. Within the community female farmers' work gets more valued. Joyce is looking forward to sell her produce to the new farmer owned ginnery: Mumbwa Farmers Ginning and Pressing Company. This season she expects to get a better price for the cotton seeds.

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