1. Tell us about the challenges you face being a woman in the agriculture sector?
My challenges are not much because I am not the primary producer of most of the products that I have and that is why I have great respect for women who are in primary producing, there is need to help them to address certain challenges they face such as access to finance, inputs and also market linkages.
2. Why do you feel women’s economic empowerment is very important?
It is important because it gives liberation to the woman to do great exploits. As they say, a woman empowered is a nation empowered. I feel there is so much potential that women possess which can be unlocked if they are empowered and given a space where they can nature and grow.
3. When did you first interact with AgriEn Network?
My first interaction with AgriEn Network was in 2022 when they hosted several activities in commemoration of the World Bee Day. Among them, was a stakeholder meeting with different actors in the apiculture sector and a product showcase which gave Honey processors a platform to showcase their products and services. It formed a great opportunity for me as I was also selling honey, a passion I acquired during the COVID days. It was an exciting moment for me as I got a chance to showcase my honey products to different stakeholders at the event.
4. What has been your experience with AgriEn network activities?
My experience with AgriEn Network has been amazing especially the role they play in linkages and networking. Being at an AgriEn Network event gave me an opportunity to meet diverse people who are working towards bettering the agriculture sector. It was during the events they organised that I got to interact with individuals from the Zambia Forestry Commodities Association (ZFCA), that opened my mind to the natural foods that come from forests and the power they have in nutrition and health. The gathering propelled me to look further into how I can make healthy products from the environment around me. This also contributed to the initiative taken with Umulyo Foods, a brand that produces several added value products such as honey, pupwe, pounded groundnuts, Chikanda, cassava meal and pumpkin leaves.
5. What network activity with AgriEn Network is most memorable to you?
Definitely the World Bee Day commemoration activities.
6. You were awarded Woman HoneyPrenuer of the year during last year’s World Bee commemoration event hosted by AgriEn Network, can you tell us more about this and how that has impacted your work?
Being awarded Woman HoneyPrenuer of the year was a heart-warming moment for me, it showed that people are seeing my work and appreciate it. You know we always put in so much work and love in what we do and you want people to feel it too, both in the work you and in the product as well, that is why it is important to always go the extra mile in coming up with a quality product. And also like I stated earlier, this opportunity helped me and motivated me to see what else I can do to add to what I was already doing and hence the birthing of Umulyo foods. These products are ready to go and have opened up so many doors for me to an extent where am working on expanding onto the international market and we have even reached an advanced stage to export them to the United Kingdom (UK).
7. Do you think Food systems are coordinated in Zambia?
Not yet, coordination means there is a defined process that ensures that everything that is done is sustainable. But there are strides being made especially with an organisation like AgriEn Network whose focus is on a Food System approach gives hope that we are on the right track.