WHERE : Zambia
Farming is a way of life for many women in rural Zambia. Despite making up a large portion of the agricultural rural workforce, women’s participation in the Zambian economy is hindered by social and cultural norms that limit women’s access to and control of resources, which could otherwise be used for their own and their families’ benefit.
The 21-month Walmart Foundation-funded Women’s Improved Marketing and Asset Control (WIMAC) Project was part of “Walmart Foundation’s Global Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative” and endeavored to facilitate improved livelihoods for 45,000 farmers (50 percent of whom were women) to overcome barriers to women’s participation in the market and give them greater access to lucrative and nutritious crops.
Targeting soybean and groundnut value chains, WIMAC worked to establish inclusive access to markets for smallholder farmers in Eastern Province (EP) and peri-urban Lusaka. WIMAC’s efforts focused on four interlinked components: enhanced capacity of farmer organizations to meet member needs; improved production and post-harvest practices; women’s empowerment and leadership; and market linkages between buyers, suppliers, and supporting service providers. Working closely with trusted government agencies, Tanager (operating then as ASI) trained farmers and farmer producer organizations to improve their capacity to not only produce quality crops, but to organize and aggregate those crops to reach larger buyers. In addition, WIMAC established direct market relationships between project participants and larger buyers and service providers.
In its 21 months of operations, WIMAC trained thousands of farmers, built the capacity of hundreds of Zambian Ministry staff, provided targeted technical assistance to women’s groups, and fostered business relationships with input providers and buyers in the groundnut and soya bean supply chains.
- 47,460 farmers (58% of which are women) trained in post-harvest handling and 48,674 farmers (57% of which are women) trained in improved productivity
- 16,685 farmers were trained in group marketing and capacity building
- Club registration has increased by 155% in the reporting districts with 824 new clubs having registered since the project’s inception
- 10,537 hectares were cultivated under improved farm management
- 2,992 farmers sold over $340,000 USD worth of groundnuts and soya beans