A Widow Who Built Her Business By Joining A Farmers Group

For a long time, Sabino Amito yearned to start an income generating activity.

A Widow Who Built Her Business By Joining A Farmers Group
Sabina Amito preparing food for her customers at her restaurant in Labone Payam center [Photo by NPA]

By Tamama Norbert Mansfield

23 February 2016 [Gurtong]-
She searched for a startup capital but in vain until one day a friend urged her to join a farmers group, called Alaro Kodi which she promptly accepted.

Amito joined the group in 2013 and the decision was no regret.

A year later, her dream drew nearer. With the proceeds she earned from the group, she started a local eatery business with 500 South Sudanese Pounds (SSP).

She began by cooking belila (a local delicacy made of a mixture of fried boiled beans and maize).  With time her menu included tea served with pancakes as well as rice and beans.

“The demand was high because it was affordable” she chuckled. “At first business was good. But as time went on, more and more people opened similar joints fragmenting the limited market” she gestured towards the largely empty market area.

By then Amito had built a small grocery store next door. “My plan was to open a shop that sells basic commodities like sugar, soap and salt. That is why i sunk my profits in building that house she said, pointing at the unfinished, red brick structure, next door.

The building had reached roofing level. “Unfortunately I have failed to finish it due to lack of money” lamented the 48 year old mother of one. 

Amid challenges, the widow has not given up. “I will continue to work hard until I establish my shop” she vowed.  “Group work pays” she suggested. “I call upon more aid agencies to support women groups. Women play a key role in improving the welfare of their families but they often lack capital to start income generating activities” she concluded.

Alaro Kodi farmers group is based in Labone Payam in South Sudan’s Magwi County, which lies in the area then known as, Eastern Equatoria State. The group is a beneficiary of the Smallholder Production and Marketing Project (SPMP) of the Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA).

The NORAD funded project equips identified farmer groups to produce enough food to meet local market demand through the provision of revolving grants, advisory services and capacity building trainings, explained, Mr. Eluzia Logonda, NPA’s senior project officer.

“The project gives revolving grants to identified local organization and private sector actors to enable them buy and sell agriculture inputs to farmers and likewise buy produce directly from the farmers upon harvest” he said.

Mr. Logonda added: “Private sector involvement in input and output marketing is very crucial for agriculture production and market systems to function sustainably. For farmers to increase their production, a local supply of inputs and market outlets are required”  

Alaro Kodi buys food produce directly from the famers when the price is favorable and later resale it at a profit in the wider market, easing the burden faced by farmers in taking produce to markets due to poor roads and costly vehicle hire.

The group received 15.000SSP as a revolving grant in 2013. “We used the money to buy food produce directly from the famers after harvest. We stored it and waited for the right time to resale it at a profit in the market. However we made loses as a result of poor roads and difficulties in hire of vehicles to ferry the goods to the market on time” said, Mr. Bosco Oroma, a group member.

Mr. Oroma is optimistic that the group will stabilize and score more success in this season.

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