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Women empowerment ‘reinstates’ barter exchange

October 8, 2016

Livestock small-scale farmer Charity Katuta is a highlight of contemporary innovation as she exchanges cow milk with books for her school-going children and other food stuff to keep the family well nourished.

Ms Katuta is among the first 40 Zambian beneficiaries of Konkola Copper Mines cattle empowerment project, a five-year $2.5 million project targeting to lift small scale farmers out of poverty through wealth creation. By the end of 2015, about 600 cattle had been given out to 300 farmers under the sustainable livelihoods project in three rural communities around KCM’s mining operations.

The 62-year Ms Katuta, a mother of eight was given two cattle in 2012. She has already given a calf to her neighbour in this programme modeled on a pass-on system in order to spread the benefits of rearing cattle.

Ms Katuta has defied all odds as she seeks to multiply the number of cattle her family rears. She recites a typical account of uplifted standards of living for her family.

“The gift of cattle is the greatest gift of my life time. Recently, I started to exchange milk for other requirements. I have often walked into grocer shops to do a barter exchange for milk with school exercise books. I occasionally exchange milk for fish and beans,” she recounts and adds that her family no longer lives in poverty.

Ms Katuta is part of a farmers’ co-operative movement which uses cow dung to grow vegetables and the staple white maize crop. The farmers have reduced on the use of artificial fertilisers on their fields and gardens. They sell the vegetables they grow to raise money for food, school requirements for their children and other needs.

Ms Katuta’s two children have responded to the improved lives by excelling in high school and are scheduled to enter into colleges to pursue professional careers.