by Krista Zimmerman
May 9, 2012
This was originally posted at Alertnet: The World’s Humanitarian News Site.
Bakina Zacharia is a woman farmer who lives in remote Idole Village in Dodoma, Tanzania. Dry climate and unpredictable rainfall make farming challenging, but there are few other livelihoods options.
Like many farmers in the region, Bakina grows onions, a popular crop. And in the past, she struggled to make enough money to provide for her family. Like the farmers around her, she used to harvest her crop in the fall and sell them right away. Because all the farmers sold at once, the market was flooded and prices were low.
And sometimes the onions were left to rot because there was no one who wanted to buy them.
But recently, something had changed for Bakina. It was a little thing but it made a big difference. Her village government built a simple storage shed. And Bakina leased it.
The shed is not particularly fancy; it is not made of pricey materials or depend on modern technology. In essence, it’s just bricks, boards and chicken wire. What makes the shed so effective for farmers like Bakina is that it includes a large waist-high shelf that that keeps the onions off the ground, slowing down the spoilage process.