Local Economies – Meet the people
Marcelino Creva Malissane is President of Batani Phaza Farmers Association in Honde, Barue District. As a smallholder farmer he has 4 hectares of land and produces maize, soy bean and sesame. He was one of the founders of the Association. Before we started work with MICAIA, Marcelino explains, we had many projects. We received training and advice, but nothing really changed. In the MICAIA project we have made real progress. The focus was different. Instead of just focusing on how we could produce more, MICAIA helped us think about our farming as a small business. The project trained ‘Family Farm Business Facilitators’, one from each farmer club, and these people have helped my members plan better and produce more. Marcelino describes the challenges of smallholder farming. It’s not easy for our people. We have small land. Until last year we could not get banks to give us a loan and so we could not buy crops as an Association – and that meant we couldn’t get contracts with WFP and other buyers. Also, we didn’t have a store. Through the project we’ve been able to develop a business plan and MICAIA helped us get a loan which we used to buy lots of Sesame which we sold at a very high price. We have repaid the loan. MICAIA also helped us get a grant from Beira Agricultural Growth Corridor fund and with that we have built our warehouse.
Timoteo Tapera, Beekeeper with the Matiraburo beekeepers’ association
Beekeeping has been a family activity as long as Timoteo Tapera can remember. My grandfather had many hives in trees through the forest, Timoteo Tapera explains. I don’t remember if he sold honey, but I remember eating it! My father took on the hives and added his own. Some years a trader would come to the village and buy honey, but other times no one would come. My father understood bees. He could always get good honey. Asked about his own involvement in beekeeping, Timoteo Tapera says that he is a ‘Bee Promoter’ with MICAIA. I have been doing beekeeping for years so I was happy to join in the MICAIA project a few years ago. My group members nominated me to be trained as a Promoter and I did a residential training with others from the District. I help other beekeepers in the village, especially at harvest time – some of them are scared of the bees! They pay me a small gift when they sell the honey. For Timoteo Tapera beekeeping is a serious business with potential for growth. As he explains, since I started with MICAIA I have greatly increased my production and I sell to Mozambique Honey Company. Last year I used the money from honey to buy a bicycle. This helps me get around to see other beekeepers and deal with my own businesses. The more we produce, the more we earn.