This from Self Help Africa caught my eye:
Christine Mwale predicts that the income of women in her village can double when they become full-time suppliers to the new Banana Enterprise Project being supported by Self Help Africa in Nyimba, Zambia. Established by Self Help Africa in collaboration with Nyimba District Farmers Association, the project will buy banana from 600 women farmers with small plantations in the area.
Fruit will be dried and processed at the Farmers Association run plant, and sell dried chips to a Lusaka-based firm that sells Zambian fruit produce to supermarkets across the country. And better still, the suppliers earnings could be further enhanced as owner- shareholders in the enterprise, that has been supported with funding under Self Help Africa’s Mtukula Innovation Fund.
Christine is a lead trainer in one of 16 producer groups that have been established locally to supply to the plant. As such she arranges and hosts training sessions and demonstrations on her own plantation, and is available as a first point of contact for growers in her locality.
The new drying facility in Nyimba is designed to add-value to the banana that is grown in the locality, and also increases shelf life and marketability of the crop for women farmers. “At present we sell to traders who market our bananas from a trading post at the local bus depot, but this market is limited, and many bananas spoil in the heat before they are sold”, Christine says.
Banana production is widespread in Nyimba, and is a farm activity traditionally undertaken by women in the community.