Transforming lives through farming business

Mr. Baruti Chipatala and his wife are some of the few farmers who have benefited from farming beyond expectation. They come from Matikiti Vilage in T/A Nthema in Zomba district. They are NASFAM members belonging to Mibawa GAC in Namadzi Association. 

This family is interesting in that they work together in improving their livelihood. They are known for tobacco farming from which they get a considerable amount of money each and every year but they have also expanded their income generatingsources. Tobacco alone brings about MK400, 000 in a year as profit. 

This couple joined NASFAM in 2004 where they have been learning about farming business. The knowledge they acquired has greatly helped them because as of today they are shinning stars in their area. Some think it is witchcraft but it is about putting knowledge into use. The most interesting story about this family is that they diversified their sources of income into different produce such as pigeon peas and groundnuts in addition to tobacco with the aim of improving their livelihood. 

According to Mrs. Marita Chipatala, they consider pigeon peas trading as a second income earner for the household. "We have our own field for pigeon peas from which we harvest about 20 bags. When we sell this we reinvest the money back into business by buying some more pigeon peas from other farmers until we gather enough to supply to companies", she said. They buy most of the pigeon peas from other districts such as Mwanza. This business seems to have overtaken tobacco because the earnings are higher than the tobacco proceeds. They sell their pigeon peas to companies like Export Trading, Bahrat and Select and Save.

Mrs Marita Chipatala recalled Chipatala and his wife enjoying the comfort of the sofa of the times when they were poor. "We were very poor sometime back because we only produced maize for consumption until when my husband thought of diversifying into tobacco farming, pigeon pea and millet farming. That was the time when the business mind took its course", she said. 

As of today, this family employs more  than 15 people each and every season to help them in the tobacco production process and they cultivate a field which is more than 2 hectares. 

They grow different crops that mature at different times of the year. This has given them an opportunity to have finances throughout the year becauseof diversity. 

This family is admirable because they support each other throughout the 
year in every activity. Chipatala emphasised that family support is key in farming business hence the need for peace and oneness in each and every 
farming family. "This element is mostly forgotten and yet it is very important. If a couple is not in good terms with one another, it will be difficult to support one another in carrying out some activities that are quite involving", said Chipatala. 

With the profit, they have managed to construct a baked brick house measuring 8x14 metres. This house is roofed with iron sheets and well cemented on the floor and painted walls. It is also furnished with a comfortable sofa set and has electricity generated from solar panels. The family can now afford to watch different videos and free television because they have TV screen and a DVD Playerincluding a radio and cassette 
player. 

Construction of the house alone has cost Chipatala more than a Million Kwacha. It has 4 bedrooms and each of them has a bed and mattress to make sleep more comfortable. There are now plans to buy a fridge and a cooker within the year to ease their life. They also plan of buying a vehicle in the coming year as one way of easing their movements and transportation of some of the farm inputs and 
produce.