“From the time THRIVE was introduced, I have built a house, bought two vehicles, sent my children to better schools and diversified into chicken rearing,” says 43-year-old, father-of-six, James Lombe.
World Vision, through our Transforming Household Resilience in Vulnerable Environments (THRIVE) initiative, is strengthening food production, resilience and access to markets and financial services so that farmers like James can produce more, better and more sustainable nutritious food for household consumption and marketing purposes.
James, a commercial farmer from Chief Chikwanda based in Mpika, is a beneficiary of the Farming God’s Way and Empowered World View training sessions offered by World Vision under the THRIVE project for small-scale farmers in Mpika District. Lombe happily narrates that the THRIVE project helped him to consider farming as a business.
“Previously, I used to cultivate for home consumption only and was satisfied to have meals throughout the year; but we used to face so many challenges in terms of providing for my children’s school fees and other basic needs,” he says. “My real transformation started when I attended the Empowered World View training that was organised here in Mpika by THRIVE in 2016. I appreciate the skills and knowledge that the training imparted in me and many other farmers in the district. What I am producing now, is something that I could only have dreamt of [before]. My produce has grown over ten times what it was initially.”
Lombe narrates that he used to make K2000 to K3000 (US$115 to US$175) annually as profit from selling his maize produce. Today, he tells a different story of transformation brought by the partnership between World Vision and VisionFund Zambia.
“Before the coming of THRIVE, it was difficult for a poor farmer like me to access a loan from the lending institutions that were available in the district," shares James. "By the way, we did not have so many institutions and this gave the existing one monopoly to have high interest rates. But after undergoing the training in Empowered World View, World Vision through the THRIVE project linked us as small-scale farmers to VisionFund for group loans."
"The first loan was obtained as a group but I left the group to individual loans because the group share was not enough for my farming. My first individual loan was a K1500 (US$85), and my produce began to increase, which also prompted me to increase the size of the farmland. Now I get loans as high as K20,000 (US$1,170) and I pay back without any challenges,” explains Mr. Lombe.
He continues, “When I started making more money, I equally increased the loan amount to further expand and diversify by planting more different crops. With access to loans, I now cultivate more than five hectares and I do more than two hectares of gardening. At the moment, I cultivate three main types of crops: cabbage, tomatoes and green maize.”
Lombe says with a smile that he is now sending four of his six children to good schools, paying K2500 (US$145) per term.
To further help small-scale farmers build their farms into commercial businesses that can generate enough income to enable them to send their children to school, have better health and nutrition, protect children from violence especially stopping child marriage, World Vision constructed dams and irrigation canals to enable farmers to reduce dependence on seasonal farming, thereby promoting throughout the year farming.
Together, we’ve impacted the lives of over 200 million vulnerable children by tackling the root causes of poverty.
Farmers like James Lombe have greatly benefited from the canals. “I am thankful to World Vision because we have been helped a lot. We use the canals to water our gardens and this has helped us to grow our farming business,” he says. “Through THRIVE, I am helping other members of the community by hiring them to help with the work in the farm. Currently, I have employed five people on a full-time basis and 15 as casual workers. The community is also benefiting. With this human resource I now get over 300 boxes of tomatoes, and 12,500 heads of cabbages. Annually I make over K90,000 ($5,260).”
James is an example of the many farmers that World Vision has empowered and transformed. With such interventions, children are educated, protected and have a hopeful and brighter future.