Jacana focuses on small scale entrepreneurs; for example water for farmers, training and mentoring for beekeepers or chicken farmers and so on.
Before Jacana starts a project in a new rural area, we like to know more about the people living in the area. We therefore do a survey in which we map a lot of data like:
- So far, the survey has shown that 88.5% of the people in our project areas are (small-scale) entrepreneurs (Self-employed). Most of them are farmers.
- An average family lives with 6 or 7 people in a small house of 47m² (three rooms of 4x4m). That house was built over many years and cost on average €1,129 in total.
Our researchers looked at the house, which tells us something about the type of roof, floor, brickwork and number of windows and doors and sizes of the house. They looked at whether there is an electricity connection or whether solar or candles are used. But they also asked for instance about the number of mobile phones in a house, TV and radio etc.
With data like this we can estimate what a family has invested in an average year. Results:
- A quarter of the families invested less than €100 per year.
- 60% of people invested less than €300 per year.
- The size of the land for cultivation is often big, this because a Chief in an area gives large portions of land to families. The average size of land a family has is 4.7 hectares, according to the survey. This is an area of 9.5 football fields.
- The survey shows that only 4% of the targeted families have ever saved money and most of them do so under a mattress. Moreover, saving in a weak currency makes little sense since you can buy less and less with it over time.
Investing in growth
Putting the results from the survey side by side, the opportunities for the families lie in utilising agricultural land. Consequently, most families make their livelihood from growing maize, soya, peanuts and some tobacco, cotton or sunflowers. In good years, crop supply is very high and profit margins extremely low, sometimes so low that small farmers unknowingly make a loss.
The big question now: how can a farmers family escape poverty when they have so little capital to invest?
In Jacana’s view, you can escape the poverty spiral if you have the opportunity to gradually grow your income and reinvest it in your business.
In Zambia, imported farming tools, irrigation systems and even tractors can be bought at western prices, but if you can only spend €100 a year, there is little chance of buying products that will get you ahead.
In order to still make it possible for family businesses in villages to expand, Jacana has trained a range of entrepreneurs in creating affordable and scalable solutions that rural entrepreneurs can use to sustainably expand their businesses. A number of training courses have also been developed that are useful in this regard.
In December, Jacana held a New Year campaign and with the many contributions we received, Jacana was able to organise the first SMART Market. At this market, trained entrepreneurs and Jacana trainers demonstrated the following offerings: chicken feed production, basic beekeeping knowledge, oyster mushroom growing, organic farming, solar design and installation, (mobile) solar pumps, rope pump and manual drilling of boreholes. The video below give an impression of the first SMART market.
The market was attended by more than 100 people from eight different villages. Many of them signed up for one or more products or services. What stood out head and shoulders above the rest was making chicken feed and compost with local resources and solar power systems for shops, hairdressers or chickens.
To assist small-scale rural entrepreneurs in taking the first step towards growth, we will partially subsidize some of them. The contribution from the New Year campaign will be used for this purpose. If you also want to support some rural families then a small contribution is always welcome.
This can be done via bank account: NL89 TRIO 0390 3594 16 or direct here: