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Irene has been a member of the Kabwadu Women’s Farming Group for six years. In that time, she has gone from working as a labourer on the local commercial farm, to being a co-producer at an award-winning Oxfam-supported banana farm. (Photo: Abbie Trayler-Smith / Oxfam) 

Oxfam in Zambia

Oxfam has been working in Zambia since the early 1980s. Working with partners and stakeholders, our programmes include developing sustainable livelihoods within the context of HIV and AIDS, health and education, water and sanitation, and strengthening community capacity to cope with disasters.  

Changing lives with chilli

‘Before joining this project, I was suffering to make ends meet at home since I am keeping my children and other orphans. I tried to do several businesses which all failed.’

Low productivity and the lack of market access have made growing crops and earning a living very difficult in Zambia. With our chilli project though, things are changing for participants like 56-year-old Musangu Tololi.

She told us: ‘Before joining this project, I was suffering to make ends meet at home since I am keeping my children and other orphans. I tried to do several businesses which all failed … I even tried selling some beer, but the beer business was not easy. When I heard about this chilli project, I decided to join the group.

‘We were given pipes, solar panels, chilli and vegetable seeds. We also received some training on how to farm chilli and other horticultural products. With the new knowledge I acquired, I am able to farm on my own with minimal supervision. In my first year, I managed to sell about 17 kg of chilli and this earned me a total of 700 kwacha (HK$583*).’

Besides providing the tools and training needed to produce and sell chilli, Oxfam and its local partner ASNAPP are also increasing farmers’ market access so that they can sell their products at a better price.

‘I am practically a breadwinner at home with a lot of dependants,’ Musangu said. ‘My most significant change is that I have managed to take my dependants to school. Our household income has increased as both my husband and I are able to provide for the home.’

*According to the exchange rate at the time this was written

Photo: ASNAPP-Zambia and Oxfam