A SUCCESS STORY FROM THE
MAMBOVA CHILI PROJECT
Residents of the Mambova area in Kazungala District, Southern Zambia, have seen many development projects come and go but none of the projects brought lasting change to people’s lives. Luckily, some residents remained optimistic and when the ASNAPP/OXFAM Chili Pilot Project arrived, they decided to give it one more try.
The project began in September 2013 with a baseline study to understand the vulnerability of the communities in Mambova, how local residents earn income, and what knowledge they have about growing chilies. After the survey, 48 community members agreed to join the project. ASNAPP established a chili demo garden in November 2013 and then trained the member farmers in land preparation and chili production. Farmers transplanted three varieties of seedlings (Malaga, Long Slim Cayenne, and Rochelle) into the four-hectare demo garden in January and February 2014.
By May 2014, farmers had harvested 2,725.5kg of chilies. This high yield surprised many farmers and has attracted the attention of nearby villages whose residents are interested in joining the project.
For the 48 farmers who took a risk to join the project and who worked hard to grow the chilies, the benefits are already clear. “Before the chili project, life was not easy because we weren’t doing anything to earn income but now there is hope for a better living with our families,” said one farmer. Another farmer said that after the sale of the chilies she would like to diversify by buying cows so that at the end of the project she will have some cattle to help her plough her open field and to provide milk for her families.
After such success with one planting, the farmers hope the project will continue. But they are also practical. Member farmers have agreed to contribute a certain amount of money immediately after the sale of the chilies to a bank account so that when outside support ends, the farmers can continue growing chilies and other vegetables.
From a small pilot project in one area, it is clear that ASNAPP can work hand-in-hand with farmers to alleviate poverty and improve lives. As one farmer so eloquently put it, “If all the villages in Kazungula district can be attached to ASNAPP, this wind of change will make poverty a song of the past.”
Transplanting chilies Healthy chili crop
Harvesting the chilies A bountiful harvest
Exactly the colour the buyers want Drying in the Zambian sun