The Dream of Female Farmers’ Group

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Imbi Kailupa (43) telling her experience when she start planting the beans.

What can happen to 50 kilograms of peanut for a group of mothers?

Imbi Kailupa (43) has the answer. The sacks of peanut have helped catapulted the lives of the members of the Mothers' Hope Farming Group. The peanuts have further strengthened their commitment to support their children to access higher education.

"I'm very happy that with the additional income from the group's harvest I could better support my children. One of my children has secured the BA degree and is now teaching Indonesian Language in Senior High School," Imbi enthusiastically shared. She herself could only study up to the second grade of primary school.

Imbi lives in a village in North Galela sub-district in North Halmahera district in the North Maluku province. She is the chair-person of the Mothers' Hope group, which now has 17 mothers as members.

Let's get back to the year 2011 when the group was founded. Imbi was then under pressure to find additional income for her family. The traditional coconut farming ran by her husband could not adequately meet their family needs, moreover for additional needs, such as the higher education of their children. The coconut harvest, sold in the form of dried copra, was limited. And the farm could only be harvested every three months. 

Imbi has tried to join multi-level marketing businesses offering certain consumption products. But, the earnings were also very minimal. However, during her travel to get new multi-level members, she got an inspiration that helped change the course of her life.

It happened when she visited neighboring Birinoa village. She saw a well-groomed tomato farm at the yard of the village chief home. She learned from the wife of the village chief that the farm was developed by a group of women there under the support of Wahana Visi office in North Halmahera.

"This is a group farming undertaking," the wife of the village chief explained. "Our group has more than 20 members." The farming initiative has started bringing additional income for the group members.

This has inspired Imbi to initiate similar farming group right at her village. With her skills in multi-level marketing, she could recruit 31 mothers to join the group.

She received positive response when she contacted Wahana Visi office for support. Nelwan, its development officer, soon distributed peanuts for the Mothers' Hope Farming Group to farm.

Imbi explained the rule of the group to the members that they would set aside 20 percent of the income from the harvest as savings that would be managed to further develop the group.

The first harvest was a big success. But several members declined to give the funds for savings. Therefore, the group decided to go on with those who committed to the earlier agreement. The number of members declined to 17 mothers. But, they could work together with more concerted unity.

They used a part of their harvest to replant their farm. And Nelwan also came with 50 kilograms of additional peanut to farm. Soon, the group enjoyed much better harvest and income.

To prevent all the income from ending up for consumptive spending, Imbi asked all the members to set aside Rp 5.000 every week for joint savings. The savings could only be retrieved when their children graduate from senior high school so that the family has substantial funds to support their children to go to colleges.

Recently, the group's savings for the purpose had reached Rp 10 million (about US$800) although this initiative was just being introduced.

News Source : The Dream of Female Farmers’ Group

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