Woman producer conquers space as a facilitator in a male-dominated market

Teresa Aquissai is a producer of cereals mainly corn and a member of the Kufumba Ichungu group of producers located in Manica Province, in Mozambique. She is one of the 30 small agricultural producers in the project who are receiving technical assistance from FAR (Food Security through climate Adaptation and Resilience – programme) in Manica. With her proactivity in acquiring agricultural inputs to help members of the community where she lives, Teresa Aquissai ended up becoming a village based agent and part of the group which is mostly dominated by men.
A Village based agent is a local market facilitator that links the producer with various segments of the market such as agro-dealers, storekeepers, traders, and the FAR programme.

As a cereal, mainly corn producer, Teresa aspired to be a village based agent, an activity much performed by men in that locality. One way she saw herself to be part of this group and conquer her space was by participating in various training on climate-resilient agriculture as well as training on management skills of a commercial establishment such as VBA, organized by FAR-Manica. After the training of one day, Teresa managed to acquire seeds for sale and already sees good results in her business choice. 

"My business started very small, around December, where sales volume fluctuated between 14 and 27 CHF for the agricultural season, selling only a few grams of seed, but it grew and at present, it covers two villages. Currently, the business has a turnover of agricultural inputs of more than 679 CHF".

These are the most common activities of a village-based agent in the FAR-Manica project. This in addition to facilitating and intermediating the connection between the suppliers of agricultural inputs (private sector) to the rural producers by bringing agricultural inputs (seeds, utensils, fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides) to the community at the price formally practiced in the agro-dealers shops in the cities; buying the agricultural surpluses from the producers to aggregate them and to resell in large volumes to the retailers or processors, thus facilitating the process of collecting the products from the small producers.

The FAR Programme seeks to foster stable availability and access to food for 25,000 to 30,000 semi-subsistence and semi-commercial smallholder households. At least 50% of the beneficiaries should be women. This will be achieved through climate-resilient agricultural production, value chain integration, and income diversification.