Malawi: P4P raising income for women farmers

“Here I am, a changed and empowered woman” says Rosemary Kaphadzale. As member of the Chikwatula farming cooperative in Malawi, she was able to sell her surplus maize to WFP – and to use the proceeds to improve the life of her children.

The Chikwatula Cooperative in the Central Region of Malawi is one of four Malawian farmers’ organisations that have signed a contract with WFP to supply maize in 2010. Under WFP’s Purchase for Progress (P4P) initiative, smallholder farmers like Rosemary Kaphadzale can benefit from the agency’s purchasing power.

The Cooperative delivered a total of 409 metric tonnes of maize to WFP, the first-ever WFP procurement from smallholders in Malawi. Rosemary Kaphadzale contributed almost 2 metric tons to this assignment and earned more than 500 US$ - money that she put to good use immediately: She paid for vocational training for three of her children, improved the diet for all her children and two grandchildren under her custody and also renovated her house. She was even able to invest in her business by procuring more inputs and by investing in new crops like tomatoes.

“Currently the yields from my land are the ones feeding the whole family and, beyond this, I had surplus for sale”, she says. For the first time in her life, Rosemary Kaphadzale was able to sell and earn more from maize than from selling soya or groundnuts – the other crops growing on her 2.5 ha of land.
Successes like hers are the aim of the P4P initiative which will benefit 500,000 smallholder farmers in 21 countries until 2013. By using its purchasing power and its expertise in procuring food locally for its operations around the globe, WFP will help smallholder farmers to produce food surpluses and to sell these surpluses at a fair price.

Rosemary Kaphadzale is not only cultivating her own piece of land independently from her husband and selling her crops to WFP, she is also holding several leadership positions in her community. She is councillor of the village head, treasurer of the development committee of her church and secretary to the Chisomo Smallholder Farmers Club (associated to the Chikwatula Cooperative). Rosemary is proud of her achievements and she hopes that many more women will follow her example:  “I would like to be a model woman in the village and in the process inspire more women.”