Mary Simwemba, 42, lives in Muzoka, Pemba District and has assets valued at not less than K300,000. She owns 68 goats, five herds of cattle, two iron sheet roomed houses and a cash flow of at least K5000. Thanks to a Savings Group that remarkably transformed her life.
Her journey had not been that easy for her. She left school in Grade 9 aged 17 and got married. When her husband of 9 years died she opted to become a farm laborer.
“As a housewife, I entirely depended on my husband for everything. When he died life became difficult because from the K10 per day I earned at the farm I was expected to meet all the financial obligations for our 6 children,” Mary recalled.
Then she joined Muzoka Savings Group under DAPP Smallholder Farmers’ Support program Integrated Farmers; Support Project. Her life turned around when she later saved K120 from her earnings of K10 per day. Influenced by field staff from the Project and Ministry of Agriculture Extension Officers who trained her in Conservation Agriculture technologies, Mary invested her first payout of K2,000 in farming. She used manure and got 4 bags of fertilizer from Government.
“I will never forget my first payout. It was K2,000. I set aside K500 and the rest I bought 40kg maize seed and harvested 140 X 50 kg bags of maize. I stored 30 bags for home consumption and sold 110 bags to the Food Reserve Agency at K10,000 in total. I bought building materials for the house l’am living in now and started to buy cattle as well,” Mrs. Simwemba said.
In her second season with the savings group Mary accessed a loan of K1,000 from Vision Fund and bought goats that later increased her income earnings.
“After paying back the loan, I used the surplus to purchase goats. We are happy that DAPP has improved structures and brought into the community some goats that we shall use to improve the breed of our local goats. I am now looking forward for the next payout of K4000 in March 2020”, she said.
Mary has since built two blocks of buildings that she is planning to turn into boarding houses for pupils who school at Muzoka Secondary School which is barely a kilometer away.