Self Help Africa’s new Mtukula Fund is providing grant support this year to four innovative development projects designed to empower women by fostering enterprise development and agricultural diversification in southern Africa.
Mtukula Agricultural Enterprise Fund (MAEF) had 136 applications which were reviewed by an advisory panel and resulted in the final selection of two projects in each of Zambia and Malawi for this first round.
Self Help Africa’s Head of Research, Innovation and Learning,Jenny Rafanomezana said that the four chosen projects had been selected in recognition of the benefits these activities could have in improving farm enterprise and agricultural diversification, in developing profitable market opportunities, and also because they each had the capacity to support and empower rural women.
The projects selected for funding include activities that look at the enterprise potential of banana production, that supports fish farming, that add value to mango production, and that links broiler hen rearing and amaranth grain production.
Details of the approved projects are below:
Banana Enterprise Development (Zambia)
The Banana Enterprise Development initiative is assisting Nyimba District Farmers Association (NDFA) in efforts to improve banana processing and marketing in Zambia.
Farmers in the district have an extensive history with growing the crop and are well organised. Fund support is designed to enable banana producers to develop the commercial potential of the production andprocessing that is currently underway.
The introduction of technology to assist with the processing, and the assured availability of a market through a partnership with Silver Food Solutions gives this initiative a high chance of developing into a viable, sustainable agricultural enterprise.
The project will benefit many farmers in the area who are banana producers, in particular rural women, who are the main growers and vendors of banana in Nyimba District of Zambia’s Eastern Province.
Kariba Women’s Fishing Project (Zambia)
Alongside technical support from a local Fisherfolk Group on the construction of cages and with fish farming techniques, the backing of the fund will assist the group with the marketing of produce, accounts and book keeping, and further entrepreneurial development.
This initiative is being facilitated by locally-based NGO Siavonga Nutrition Group (SGV). It aims to improve natural resource management by increasing fish catches and reducing over-exploitation of lake fish, as well as to economically empower women by diversifying their livelihood base.
Broiler and Amaranth Development (Malawi)
The Trustees of Agriculture Production Promotion (TAPP) alongside Bunda College of Agriculture will be working together on the Broiler and Amaranth Value Chain Development initiative to promote broiler production and processing and amaranth seed multiplication among small-holder farmers in Malawi.
Participating farmers are constructing structures for chicken housing, and have the benefit of a nearby market and good road access for their produce in the capital, Lilongwe.
Working with TAPP gives the project great potential due to the organization’s team of well qualified and experienced experts, while the familiarity of farmers have with the organization due to its previous work in the areaalso establishes this enterprise on a firm footing.
Mango Production and Marketing (Malawi)
Facilitated by the Agriculture and Natural Resources Management Consortium (ANARMAC) and supported through additional partnerships with the Horticulture Union of Malawi (HORTICUM) and Malawi Mango Limited, the Mango Production and Marketing project will provide technical support and assistance, and marketing support to participating farm families.
There is government commitment to the project, while Malawi Mangoes, who have a processing and juice plant have agreed to provide technical training to farmers, together with transportation for fruit to the processing plant. There is an established market locally and abroad for mango, and the project has the potential to make major gains with the improvement of marketing, yields and production of mango in Malawi.