In 2021, through Investing for the Impact of HIV among Young People Project, YONECO conducted a business management training in collaboration with the District Agribusiness Office.
The aim of the training was to build capacity of smallholder farmers in group dynamics and management of joint ventures. The training targeted farmers, mostly youth, who are benefiting from the project. One of the groups that benefitted from the training was Tiyanjane Support Group from STA Tsikulamowa in Senzani, Ntcheu district.
The group decided to participate in the training because the individual members had tried to venture into agribusiness but failed to realize profits. Following the training, the group agreed to come together and venture into agribusiness where they started growing rice, tomatoes, egg plants, beans, Okra and sweet potatoes collectively.
“There is power in doing agribusiness as a group than individuals. For instance, we managed to grow tomatoes on a half-acre piece of land. So far, we have already realized MK 300,000 from the sales but we still have a lot of tomatoes to sell. We are anticipating to sell over MK 800,000.00,” said Chairperson of Tiyanjane Support Group.
The chairperson for the group went further to add that labour is equally divided when it comes to selling and looking after our farm. For the rice, they are anticipating to harvest 6 bags as a result of inadequate rains that were received in the district.
Members of the support group are very committed than ever before because they are seeing the benefits from the joint venture and that they foresee a bright future.
Their plan is to sell all their farm produce and share the proceeds equally among the members so that each can venture into their own business and become economically self-reliant.
“By July 2022, we are anticipating to have 1 million plus after selling all our produce because as of May this year we have MK 400, 000.00”, said the group’s Treasurer.
Apart from the joint venture, members also have their individual gardens which they established after tapping skills from the agribusiness training. Tiyanjane Support Group has 15 members (6 males and 9 females) and is based in GVH Bonongwe in the district.
“Before the project came, we were unable to properly utilize the land and water sources for irrigation. Consequently, we remained poor. We also thought that being HIV positive, we cannot do anything but the business management training opened our minds and we have been encouraged beyond our expectations,” said one of the group members.
We are therefore urging well-wishers to support us with a Treadle Pump because watering half an acre using buckets is not easy” the group member said.