Looking Back at Phase I (part 3)
Our third story features a man of many talents whose determination to implement the P&S Project techniques has led his market and savings association to unprecedented levels of success. Though he was also a participant in conservation agriculture trainings (see Objective 1), his accomplishments most closely tie into Objective 3: To improve marketing and stimulate the development of marketing associations so that producers realize more value for their products. The story was written by Domingos Ossufo (see profile at left), edited and translated by Rachel Mason.
Success Story: Essiaca Abacar Mussa, Mobilizer for Market and Credit Associations
By Domingos Ossufo, P&S Staff
Essiaca Abacar Mussa, 47, is married with four children, all of whom are in school. A farmer, tailor, and member of Ochucuru Mali – an association of agricultural producers in the community of Napuala – he began his collaboration with the Primeiras & Segundas Project in 2009.
When the Project was first presented to the communities, the people of Napuala, in the Administrative Post of Namaponda, Angoche District, chose Essiaca to serve as their community mobilizer – a volunteer who receives extra trainings to reinforce the methods introduced by the project.
Highly motivated to succeed, Essiaca quickly began to mobilize other community members to join together and create associations and savings groups. He admits that it was not an easy task to get people to unite around a single objective, but as he took his role as a volunteer mobilizer seriously and wanted the project to continue working in his community, he did whatever he could to get the project activities implemented.
With Essiaca’s commitment and perseverence, as well as that of several other dedicated community members, nine associations have been successfully formed in Napuala. Five of these have already succeeded in gaining legal recognition – a lengthy process that requires groups to be well organized. What’s more, the small groups have been further aggregated into an umbrella organization, known as the Napuala Forum, with various members trained by the project in commercialization and association work. This component is essential to guarantee the sustainability of the associations as the project technicians strategically decrease their level of direct support, and it already seems to be paying off through the continuation of activities in the associations that make up the Napuala Forum.
Within his own association and savings group, Essiaca occupies the position of treasurer. He feels that with the earnings that they have brought in, a significant change is taking place in his life and the lives of his neighbors. Since the project began working in the community, with the assistance of AENA [the local NGO in charge of conservation agriculture activities], not only were various groups and associations were formed, but demonstration fields for improved methods of conserving the soil have also helped the community to see the advantages of conservation agriculture in terms of increased production.
As an example, Essiaca points to the benefits these trainings have brought to his own life.
“In this agricultural season, I grew more than usual and earned more by selling many products only after identifying good prices, and I increased the value of my savings, which is contributing in an encouraging way to improving my life.”
Essiaca used his savings this year for both immediate improvements in his life as well as some investment that will pay off more in the future. “For example,” he explained, “I was able to build my house with a zinc roof that I got for a total of 18,500 meticais [approx. US$560], and I bought a mattress in Nampula for 4,450 meticais [approx. US$135], but I also bought two cows for 27,600 meticais [approx. US$836].”
Although he may not have been left with much money after such large investments this year, Essiaca is not worried about the future. “I’m still participating in the savings group with the plan that next season I’ll buy a motorbike that can serve as transportation for my family, and I always have a stock of food in storage. In general, I would say that the presence of the Project has helped me grow.”