November 9, 2015
By Simon Chambers
Petronila Mbaga is a middle aged peanut farmer living in the District of Nachingwea in Tanzania. All her life she was caring for her disabled and elderly parents. This devotion to her parents meant that she has never married.
After her parents passed away, Petronila decided to focus her attention on farming. She attended a farmers’ training session run by the field agriculture officer of the Diocese of Masasi, PWRDF’s local partner.
PWRDF and the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development are funding work in the Diocese of Masasi to support farmers in Nachingwea and other districts through education, and providing seed and tools. Each farmer who receives seed returns 20% of their crop to the village seed bank so it can be used the next year to give other farmers a hand in starting their own farms.
Petronila decided to expand the small plot of land that her parents had and grow peanuts. The Diocese of Masasi provided her with peanut seeds and technical assistance. She calculates that this year she will be able to harvest 600kg of peanuts with a market value of 1,200,000 shillings ($730Cdn).
All of a sudden, Petronila has found her future looking up, as do her marriage prospects. Her new skills and wealth have attracted a number of suitors and she finds herself inundated with demands for marriage.
“I have to assess every demand carefully,” Petronila says. “I need to be sure that there is real commitment and that he’s not just interested in my newly acquired wealth.”