Sweet Empowerment: Taking on a Leadership Role

October 28, 2015

As chairwoman of the Mababu Farmer Business Group, Mizinala Lutolo is increasing revenue while honing her leadership skills.

The cocoa from Kyela District, Tanzania, is gaining international recognition for its unique flavor profile. But for nearly two decades, Mizinala Lutolo grew cocoa on her family’s three acres without realizing its full value. She and her husband, Livingstone Mwakipesile, sold their cocoa at a low price, and worried about how to keep their four children in school.

In 2011, Mizinala and Livingstone joined the Cocoa Quality and Market Access (CQMA) program, a partnership between Irish Aid and TechnoServe, and together with other farmers in their community formed the Mababu Farmer Business Group. Mizinala learned good agricultural practices, such as responsible pruning and disease management, as well as proper fermentation and quality control. “Our cocoa is great,” she says confidently of the group’s beans today.

Elected as Mababu’s chairperson, Mizinala now plays a leading role in the farmer business group’s growing success. TechnoServe connected Mababu to specialty cocoa buyers, such as Tanzanian company Chocolate Mamas. These market linkages have increased revenue for Mababu’s members.

Mizinala and Livingstone are using their higher income to invest in their farm and improve their family’s quality of life. They recently bought two acres to plant additional cocoa trees and are planning to renovate their house. Mizinala says she is especially proud of being able to send all her children to school, including her oldest son, Luimiko, who is completing Form 4 in a private secondary school and plans to advance to university.

 

Related Blog Posts

 

Women-led Farms and Producer Organizations are Recreating the Litchi Value Chain in India

Women-led Farms and Producer Organizations are Recreating the Litchi Value Chain in India

In honor of International Day of the Rural Woman, we are celebrating Geeta Devi and the women of Muzaffarpur, who trained to improve their farming businesses, increase their yields, and negotiate better contracts for a more transparent and profitable value chain.

Fortifying Africa for Future Generations

Fortifying Africa for Future Generations

Industry, government, and civil leaders gathered in Nairobi, Kenya to launch a joint initiative to build healthier economies and communities through food fortification

Smart Investments for the Future of Food

Smart Investments for the Future of Food

Our 2016 Annual Report shared several stories of how TechnoServe projects around the world are creating business solutions with the power to improve lives, including the story of Horsin Kalikeka, whose specially outfitted bicycle helped him to increase his income while improving his community's access to nutritious foods.