This project will end extreme poverty for over 300 women farmers. This project will work through their cooperatives to diversify their crop production and nutrition from maize to vegetables. Vegetables are a high-value and high-demand crop in Zambia because 50% of the country's vegetables are imported from thousands of kilometers away from South Africa. We will train them to produce thousands of tons of vegetables which we will sell to large buyers, who can provide the farmers with a good price.
60% of the Zambian population relies on agriculture for a living but a significant portion live in poverty. Estimates show that up to 70% of the agricultural laborers are women. Up to 50% of the country's fresh fruits and vegetables are imported. Yet, there is high demand and good prices for fresh produce. If we can support women to cultivate vegetables, we can strengthen Zambia's agricultural economy, improve their access to cash-rich markets, and diversify their nutrition.
Farmers often limit vegetable production because they cannot access big buyers or store large amounts of produce. Therefore, they produce small quantities which keeps them stuck in poverty. Through their cooperatives, we train farmers on mass production. We provide them with solar-powered irrigation so they farm year-round. We provide them with supplies, such as crates and a solar-powered cold storage unit, to store their vegetables. We use our networks to sell the vegetables to big buyers.
The project will expand to hundreds more women, lifting their families out of extreme poverty. Additional income means they can send ALL of their children to school; afford to make phone calls; and feed their children 3 meals per day. Vegetable production is limited to large, commercial farmers. Our project shifts production to the poorest farmers, reducing inequality. Our training focuses on shifting farmers from survival to income generation to permanently lift them from poverty.
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