Telma and Américo
To start producing certified seed, the Sinsseque family purchased basic seed from the SEMEAR project. Telma allocated half a hectare of land to pilot production of the T-16 improved cowpea variety. She got 630 kg of certified seed, which she sold at 45 MZN/kg (US$0.75), while the local variety was going for 25 MZN/kg, and made approximately $475. Excited by these results, for the next season Telma aims to grow one hectare of certified seed of cowpea and one hectare of certified seed of sesame as they are more profitable, with the ultimate goal of expanding to 20 ha of improved varieties in the next 5 years.
“With improved cowpea seed I was able to make extra money to invest in my farming activities and meet my household needs” she said
Américo, Telma’s husband, accepted the challenge of experimenting with Lindi, an improved sesame variety, and obtained 119 kg of certified seed that he sold at 75 MZN/kg ($1.3). By applying good agricultural practices that he learned from SEMEAR, Américo realized that his agricultural business can become much more profitable and therefore, the following season, he will increase his farming land from the current 11 ha to 15 ha and he will mostly grow seed of improved varieties:
“I have made my decision; I will invest in production of improved crops like cowpea, groundnut, and maize.”
With the increased farm revenues, the Sinsseque family was able to invest in agricultural inputs like a spraying machine and mechanization services, improved their storage facility, and purchased a new motorbike. The impact of the SEMEAR project is much broader than this; in fact, the Sinsseque family hires up to 50 laborers from their community to help farming.
Instead of selling their entire crop to big commercial entities, Telma and Américo reserved 180 kg of improved cowpea seed and 25 kg of improved sesame seed to sell to local farmers struggling to access good-quality seed. This current season, up to 30 smallholder farmers will have access to certified seed.
Américo is also the president of the AFANE farmers’ association and in August 2017, the association’s seeds were certified by the National Seed Services Regional Laboratory of Nampula. SEMEAR facilitated seed inspections during the past cropping season. The certification was one step towards the formation of sustainable and profitable community based seed production enterprises. Américo is very happy with the certification and says the group is committed to improving farming practices and producing good quality seed that comply with the national seed regulations.
“With the certified seeds AFANE farmers are motivated to farm because they are sure that those seeds will germinate and they will get good yields. They will also fetch better prices. When buyers refuse to pay fair prices, we can refuse that offer and we are sure that another client will appear!” said Américo.