The grain bank of Nhacafula: A success story

Azélia Bengala, Tambara District, Manica Province, MozambiqueThe creation of a grain bank in the town of Nhacafula put an end to the exhausting ‘hungry season’ for Azélia Bengala. Every year, while waiting for the next harvest to ripen, Azélia’s family suffered hunger. Azélia spent so much time cultivating or searching for food that she had little time to look after herself and her family. 

The creation of a grain bank in the town of Nhacafula put an end to the exhausting ‘hungry season’ for Azélia Bengala. 

Every year, while waiting for the next harvest to ripen, Azélia’s family suffered hunger. Azélia spent so much time cultivating or searching for food that she had little time to look after herself and her family. 

Azélia attended a meeting in 2006 where local people talked about a new initiative to reduce hunger – a grain bank to buy and store cereals for sale at fair prices to farmers during the lean season. The Fórum of Nhacafula meeting organized by Magariro, the Community Development Association, chose Azélia and 13 other participants to form the bank. 

Magariro is an Oxfam Canada partner in the Sustainable Livelihoods and Agriculture Program to improve rural life in several districts of central Mozambique. Magariro provided a literacy course for local women. Azélia took the course so that she could do the bank’s book keeping.

In 2006, the grain bank bought and sold the first maize, with Azélia keeping the registry. 

In 2009, thanks to income from the grain bank, Azélia increased her cultivated land. The next year she had surplus to sell to the grain bank and individual consumers. She earned enough income to start another business: buying and selling fish. She buys fish from the Zambezi River in Nhacolo and resells it in Nhacafula.

Azélia no longer has to walk great distances, searching for food for her family, in what once was the ‘hungry season’.

Thanks to Azélia Bengala for telling the story of how her life was improved as a result of the support of Oxfam Canada and Mozambican partner organization, the National Union of Smallholder Farmers, through the 2005-2011 Sustainable Livelihoods and Agriculture Program
 
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