Meet Paulo Jossias, Buzi District’s very own local vegetable seedling producer and supplier. His prominent Mbeu Yedu Inofumisa seedling nursery is an innovation you cannot miss as you arrive in Guara-Guara. 

Jossias supplies vegetable seedlings to more than 500 farmers per month. Farmers place orders in advance, allowing him time to buy the requested seeds and other necessary resources from a local agro-dealer. The seeds are then carefully grown under the recommended conditions in the seedling nursery until they are ready for transplanting into farmers’ vegetable gardens. 

Jossias’s magnificent vegetable seedling nursery and water tank supply system is among the initial resources provided by the program. The water tank, which is ingeniously placed on an anthill, facilitates watering the seedlings using only gravity to push water toward the greenhouse. IFDC identified, facilitated, and trained Jossias to be a successful seedling producer who now plays a fundamental role in improving the yields of vegetable farmers in Buzi. 

“I now buy seedlings from Mbeu Yedu Inofumisa nursery because of bigger yields.”

In an interview, Jossias noted that farmers endorse his vegetable seedlings since they achieve far better yields than with the seeds used in the past. Previously, many farmers had difficulties producing seedlings, as they did not have the appropriate conditions or knowledge for managing a seedling nursery. According to Jossias, “The nursery beds used by farmers were exposed to all elements of nature, including threats from wild animals, especially birds and pests.” The lack of readily available seedlings forced farmers to make do with what they had or travel as far as Nhamatanda or Chimoio just to buy them. However, Jossias’s seedling production nursery has greatly assisted farmers, who can now access vegetable seedlings from a nearby supplier. 

A vital link in Jossias’ production is Augusto Nhama, an agro-dealer based in Guara-Guara who runs a shop called Mbeu Yakanaca, meaning certified seeds. Nhama supplies Jossias with certified seeds and other inputs at affordable prices, allowing him to profit from his seedling production business. This has created a mutually beneficial and long-lasting relationship between the two entrepreneurs. 

“I buy the best certified seeds from Mbeu Yakanaca. The owner is my friend, and we share ideas on best agriculture practices.”

Nhama is one of the successful agro-dealers trained and assisted by AFAP, TEAMS implementing organization in Buzi. As a result, Nhama can now equip farmers with the information required to properly store agro-inputs and correctly use seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides. Nhama’s shop is well stocked with a wide range of certified seeds for crops such as tomato, onion, carrot, vegetables, maize, and beetroot, which he also sells to other farmers locally. In addition, his shop sells pedal-powered pumps, knapsack sprayers, and other tools, which were previously difficult to access in rural districts. A product mix of established brand names, such as Klein Karoo Seeds, KickStart International, MoneyMaker, EASI Seeds, Mozfert/MozGrain, Bayer Mozambique, Syngenta Ltd and AgriFocus, is the result of networks expedited by the TEAMS program through AFAP in a bid to establish market linkages for rural agro-dealers in Buzi District. 

As a result of his successful business, Nhama noted that his life has turned around for the better. “I have a 1-hectare plot which I used to work alone, but this year I managed to recruit three individuals to assist me,’’ said Nhama. He has embraced the knowledge that he imparts to other farmers and has also implemented climate-smart agriculture practices in his plot. Nhama has managed to buy a printer and a computer for business operations, which gives him more access to information. Part of his income has also enabled him to construct a modern house for his family and purchase a motorcycle for improved mobility. 

In 2019, Cyclone Idai was not kind to Jossias. Like many others living in Buzi, his homestead was ravaged by the natural disaster. Fortunately, Jossias is currently finishing up a brick and cement house using profits from his seedling supply business, and he is optimistic that the new home will better withstand natural disasters and protect his family. 

Flora selling surplus cucumbers and green pepper harvested from her field.
Flora selling surplus cucumbers and green pepper harvested from her field.

TEAMS aims to promote vegetable production for home consumption and the market, improving the diet of farmers and earning them an extra income. Through an increasing number of farmer associations and technology transfer units, IFDC has trained more than 3500 farmers, primarily women, in vegetable transplanting. Flora Andre Sango is a member of the Pamberi Nebadza Association. She is a resident of Buzi who took part in such training. Since the death of her husband in 2016, growing food for subsistence farming has been the only way of life the family has known. In the past, vegetable production was mainly characterized by cost-cutting methods, such as using part of the harvest as seeds. For example, tomatoes were grown by extracting seeds from tomatoes bought for home consumption. This led to poor growth rates and low yields.

In her pursuit for a breakthrough, Flora, through her farmer association, started to adopt the use of hybrid seedlings supplied by Jossias, translating into increased productivity. Jossias’ vegetable seedling nursery Mbeu Yedu Inofumisa has ultimately improved farmers’ production and increased their earnings, allowing widows like Flora and others to construct better dwellings for their families after Cyclone Idai. Other farmer associations within the district have also established linkages with the Mbeu Yedu Inofumisa seedling producer to supply vegetable seedlings, for which they can delay payment until the end of the commercialization process. This has empowered many farmers, especially women, who lack the start-up capital for vegetable production and supply business ventures. 

Flora and her family stand in the construction site of their new house. Proceeds earned selling vegetables allowed them to rebuild after Cyclone Idai.
Flora is constructing a new house from the proceeds earned selling vegetables.