Bantu Mabaso , Eswatini
Bantu Mabaso founded Phalala Youth Empowerment for Food Security to help farmers faced with drought conditions and to improve agricultural productivity in Swaziland. Bantu wanted to help farmers run climate resilient businesses and so Phalala helps farmers organise into climate resilient associations. One association is in operation currently with 30 participating farmers. Phalala provides a month long climate resilience training course that shows farmers how to use organic materials such as wood shavings and animal manure to increase water retention and improve crop growth. Training focuses on quick growing crops which allow farmers to realise their income within 6-8 weeks. Phalala encourages the association members to plant perennial fruit trees which will grow produce, make the land easier to manage, and help the environment by absorbing carbon. The farmers are educated about drought resistant crops such as sweet potatoes, chickpeas and legumes. Once all the members of an association have been trained, the collective is eligible to apply for a loan to secure the tools and materials to run a successful climate resilient business. The association is able to apply for larger loans than each individual farmer, which makes the investment more likely to be a success. Phalala provides the association with land and access to a water source in cooperation with the local community. Currently Phalala is also running a chicken raising project. Throughout the planting, growing and harvesting phases, experts are on hand to monitor and assist the farmers as necessary. Phalala then provides a guaranteed market for the produce, buying it at a fair price and then selling it on to retailers such as Shoprite in Swaziland.