For a long time, Cecilia was a struggling farmer.
Cecilia lives with her family in rural Chipata, where many families make a living by farming maize, vegetables, and other crops. Day after day, Cecilia and her fellow small-farmers were working hard in their fields, but they were not producing enough yields.
Then Cecilia took a brave step that changed her harvests for the better: she joined the Scaling Out Integrated Soil Fertility Management Technologies Project that has been working towards sustaining agricultural productivity and incomes for 20,000 smallholder farmers in Petauke, Katete and Chipata districts of Zambia.
Through the project, Cecilia leant about how to increase agricultural productivity, food and income security for smallholder farmers through dissemination and scaling out the uptake of improved and proven Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM) practices using a value-chain approach of linking Integrated Soil Fertility Management with better access to markets and credit.
Cecilia was also fortunate that her district was among the I32 demonstration fields established by DAPP in Chipata, Petauke and Katete districts meant to equip farmers with agriculture knowledge.
Cecilia and other farmers took part in all the management practices of the demo fields through lead farmers who provided extension services. The trainings helped Cecilia and other farmers gain knowledge on Soybean in rotation with Maize to improve soil fertility
Today, Cecilia continues to thrive and she is a strong leader. As one of the trained peer farmers in her community, she finds great joy in training and mobilized new farmers in techniques that help give them enough food for their families.
“The money I raised from the sale of soya beans has assisted me to buy fertilizer on time before the onset of rain season. I encourage farmers to grow soya beans to increase their household income” - Cecilia Mwale, A Lead Farmer in Feni Camp, Chipata