Barza Wire’s top stories feature women doing great work

Since 2007, Farm Radio Weekly — now known as Barza Wire — has been producing great farmer stories. Every week, more than 2,000 broadcasters receive an email with links to these farmer stories, important news stories, event details and useful script packages. Farm radio broadcasters use these stories as inspiration for their own shows or read them on the air.

This content is also available online at Read a few of our favourite stories featuring enterprising women farmers:

The queen of seed potatoes

Annociate Manirakiza is one of the saviours of Burundi’s potato sector. The 47-year-old farmer lives in Kayanza, the centre of Burundi’s potato growing region. She set up a system to multiply quality seed potatoes on her farm. Mrs. Manirakiza says proudly: “My production was not good because I was using poor quality, unselected seeds. So, in 2013, I started a propagation system on small plots, measuring nine by 1.8 metres.”

Farmers need good seeds to produce a good crop. The situation is no different for potato farmers. But there has been a serious lack of quality seed potatoes in Burundi for several years. Many producers had to use seeds of unknown origin and dubious quality. . . .

This story, written by Jean de Dieu Ininahazwe, illustrates the partnership between the National Research Institute of Burundi and farmers interested in increasing their potato crop. Quality seed potatoes are needed to combat disease, but the institute was unable to meet demand without this partnership.

This is a great success story because Mrs. Manirakiza produces potatoes and sells them with enough of a profit that she no longer has to ask her husband, Pierre Minani, for money. She is now able to cover her family’s expenses from what she earns. Read more.
Sweet dreams
Women survivors drum up ice cream business

Chantal Kabatesi survived the Rwandan genocide. But for many years after 1994, she lived isolated in her community in Huye, in the Butare province of southern Rwanda. Now she has re-connected by joining a group of women survivors.

Mrs. Kabatesi explains, “Before, I was a farmer, and then I joined a group of women drummers. Subsequently, the group set up a project to produce and sell ice cream.” She joined the association in 2004. The women played drums, sang and danced to help ease their painful memories of the genocide.

Odile Gakire Katese, known as “Kiki,” founded the group. The former university professor brought together victims of the genocide with former torturers. The women opened up to each other, reconciled and united. The group was the first to break the gender taboo against women playing drums, instruments usually reserved for men. . . .

This fantastic story from Rwanda is about a group of women who opened their own business, Sweet dreams, which has led them to new opportunities. Check out this story, written by Fulgence Niyonagize.

Women make a living selling dried grasses and lucerne

Every day, Lovisa Nelago Shalihu takes shelter from the hot sun and waits eagerly for customers. The forty-five-year-old woman sits under a makeshift canopy thrown together from wooden poles and old sacks. Ms. Shalihu is surrounded by bags of dried grass and lucerne which people purchase for animal fodder and roofing materials.

She sells her products from her stall, by the side of a busy road a few kilometres north of Windhoek, Namibia’s capital city. She and other women with roadside stalls use their earnings from selling grasses and lucerne to buy food and other household essentials. . . .

This story from Namibia, written by Alvine Kapitako, is the story of enterprising women who manage a roadside stall to supplement their family’s income. Read the story to learn more about how these women fare against stiff competition from stores.

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