Safia Soybean: A Transformational Journey of Women Farmers in Mlanda Village

Currently our children are in good health with soybean flour compared to before the project where they would fall into red and green coloration marked as poor health.

Safia's Dedication

The trainings Safia received increased her soybean productivity from 500 kgs to 750 kgs per acre and maize production from 10 bags to 50 bags per 1 hectare earning an amount of TZS 6,928,200 ~ ($2,763) by 2022/2023 different from 2021/2022 where she used to earn TZS 1,920,000 ~ ($766) from soyabean and maize products.

Safia Madenge, aged 39, is a woman farmer and a mother of three children living in Mlanda village in Iringa District. As a primary school graduate and a housewife, Safia relied on farming activities with insufficient knowledge of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), using traditional practices to produce maize and soybean.

In 2018, she joined CARE’s Kukua ni Kujifunza (KNK) project under Tushirikiane group which taught her Good Agricultural Practices of soybean including intercropping,
post-harvest handling, value addition through Farmer Field and Business School (FFBS) and timely access to weather information. She was also selected as one of the Community Based Trainers (CBT) training on Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) and built the culture of savings, financial literacy. Based on the learnings of value addition, Safia and her group also started processing soybean products of flour, tea masala, milk, and meat of which they then received processing machine from the project.

After the phase out of the KNK project in 2022, Safia joined Scale Up Farmer Field and Business School (SUFFBS) project on in January 2023. The project aims to empower women farmers through sunflower and soybean value chains. She continued learning about Good Agricultural Practices in Climate Smart Agriculture, including minimum tillage, improved seed varieties and new skills in sunflower. Safia says, “KNK project changed my life, it shed a light towards my life, and through the SUFFBS project, I managed to market my products, learned the Sunflower Value Chain (new crop), and enlightened other women through my leadership, improving my livelihood”. After joining the FFBS project, Safia successfully implemented these practices on her farm. In season 2022/2023, she managed to earn TZS 900,000 ~ ($360) and has accumulated an additional TZS 2,500,000 ~ ($1,000), which she used for house rehabilitation and to improve her family’s food security.

After participating in various trainings on gender and women's rights, Safia was chosen to be a member of the village council. She was appointed as the Chairperson of the ruling party. Through her efforts, Safia has encouraged almost half of the female population (48%) to join the village council leadership in Mlanda village. Additionally, she has provided training to 77 members of the community, of which 87% were female. These training sessions were conducted monthly and covered topics such as nutrition, gender, cooking demonstrations, and the establishment of home gardens. Moreover, Safia has initiated 5 VSLA groups with a total of 167 members, 80% of which are female. Lastly, she has also organized village assembly meetings to train 250 community members on various topics related to gender and women's rights.

The Scale Up project has supported Safia and her group to connect to a more profitable market of the processed products. Safia has got an opportunity to participate in various forums, including the Agriculture Food Systems Forum (AGRF) summit , the International Agriculture Trade Fair (Nanenane), National Economic Empowerment Forum and other marketing channels. From these events, Safia earned a total of TZS 574,000 ~ ($229) by selling different processed soybean products. She used these earnings to support her family in education and food security.