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Determination has improved life for Anjelina

07 June 2017

Determination has improved life for Anjelina

“Never give up” is a motivational mantra used the world over. One of the sesame farmers we work with in Tanzania is someone who truly did not give up, and she has seen life improve as a result.

Mother of two Anjelina, aged 28, is a smallholder farmer living in the Babati District in Tanzania. She is group secretary of the Mwangaza farming group that currently has 25 members, with more young people being invited to join. 

Anjelina tells how she became inspired by another farmer working with Farm Africa to not let failure get in her way.

“Before joining the project, I tried to plant sesame on my own, but I got a huge loss. I was disheartened that it failed and I gave up. The challenge then was the pests. But then I saw that Clara [her friend and neighbour] was continuing farming sesame. Clara is so strong. She did not lose hope, I really admired her. I saw how successful her sesame farming became so I was motivated to try again.”

Since joining the group Anjelina has received training from Farm Africa that has made all the difference.

“I received training in land preparation, spacing, and quality seeds use. I was taught how to intercrop peas with sesame. When you plant a single crop and it fails, you get a loss, but when you plant two, if one fails, you have the other.”

Things continue to be difficult for sesame farmers in Tanzania. Unpredictable rainfall affects yields and incomes. This has a knock-on effect as low income means it is more difficult to afford good seeds or fertilisers for the crops. For Anjelina it means that she is sometimes limited to farming her two acres of land, when she can’t afford to hire the extra three acres that make a big difference to her family’s income. 

Help with marketing her crops has also been very important in helping Anjelina keep positive. Getting the best price for her crops is an essential part of the marketing process.

Anjelina describes how things used to be done:

“The buyers would come to our home and buy the crops here. I used to measure the produce using buckets. We used to think that if we use scales, we are losing somehow.”

Things have now improved.

“After receiving Farm Africa training, I understand why it’s better to use scales. We were not aware of the importance. I’m expecting to use a scale to sell this season. Buyers will come with a scale and start a crop collection centre in the village.”

The involvement with the farming group has had a huge impact on Anjelina in other ways. She was also trained in how to improve gender equality and is now sensitising others in the village on this issue.

“I volunteer to do this because I want to share what I’ve learnt. People are not aware of gender equality. I want to reduce the suppression of each other in society, and I want decision-making in households to be equal.”

Anjelina’s new confidence has meant that she is facing her future with hope and ambition. She is proud of her daughter, who is often top of the class at school. She wants both her children to have a full education and she wants to start a small business selling onions and tomatoes, both of which she says are in high demand locally.

Not giving up, together with help and training at the right time, has meant such ambitions are now within Anjelina’s reach.