This project in Zambia, supported by Trademark Southern Africa, is helping small-scale farmers to grow export quality Hass avocados, helping them provide for their futures and enjoy a better quality of life.
“When we started, they were just this high,” says Mr. Joseph Shikishi (64), bending down to the ground to illustrate how small his avocado trees were when he planted them 3 years ago. From under 2 feet, his 50 initial trees have grown to about 8 feet in height and he has planted another 20 since then.
These trees represent his hope for the future. A retired printer, Mr. Shikishi took up farming in 2005 as a second career. There is no state pension in Zambia for people like Mr. Shikishi and it is common to find small farms like his being run by people well into their twilight years, out of necessity as much as choice. He calls his farm Ichula, meaning evergreen.
“I have been married 43 years to Lydia. We planned together for this farm to support us in our old age,” he says. His land, granted to him for agricultural use by the local headman, is 100 by 150 metres in size.
“There are some difficulties but we don’t starve like we did in Lusaka,” he says pointing to the sweet potatoes growing between his avocado trees, his small plot of maize, scattered mango and guava trees and some shrubs bearing fiercely hot chillis.
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