Country: Guinea Bissau
Location: Contuboel, Bafatá region
Family Size: 4
Biana's story: Ms. Canté is a smallholder farmer and petty trader in the rural region of Bafatá, Guinea Bissau. Born in 1972 in Bolama, Guinea Bissau, she ended her education at the primary school level. Ms. Canté is married and has two sons. She will be working with GFI as part of a new program, the Guinea Bissau Livelihood Initiative. This program is working with a community of approximately 5,000 women and men farmers to provide technical assistance, infrastructure investments, access to financing and technology, and direct market linkages to help these smallholder farmers increase crop yields and access higher value markets. Ms. Canté hopes that the GBLI program “will go a long way in strengthening my production capacity as I may receive additional knowledge on how to increase production.” GFI believes that these inputs will help smallholder farmers like Ms. Canté escape the cycle of poverty and establish sustainable sources of income to improve the livelihoods of their families. By providing irrigation kits to smallholder farmers like Biana Canté, you can help GFI further this impact and provide more families with the opportunity for a more secure and prosperous future.
Guinea Bissau is a nation emerging from a turbulent history marked by military coups, instability and some of the world’s lowest economic and development indicators. It has been largely ignored by the international development community and receives some of the lowest levels of Official Development Assistance in Sub-Saharan Africa, yet it has enormous levels of need indicated by its place at the bottom of UNDP’s Human Development Index. For smallholder farmers in Guinea Bissau like Biana, domestic economic marginalization and the lack of development assistance from abroad has left them with few options to earn a living and grow their activity beyond subsistence farming. Through the Guinea Bissau Livelihood Initiative (GBLI), GFI aims to break the current poverty cycle affecting smallholder producers and improve livelihoods for farmers and their families. Each stage of development for small-scale farmers has specific barriers and potential interventions that can help the farmers improve their livelihoods. A key component of GBLI is providing technical assistance and access to technology that can help smallholder producers move past these barriers to increase crop yields and access larger markets. With a small investment of $25 you can join GFI and the BeFair campaign in providing smallholder farmers in Guinea Bissau with access to micro irrigation kits that will help them reach a new level of production in an environmentally sustainable manner, ensure food security for their families, and sell more products at better prices.
Farming communities throughout Guinea Bissau have historically been victims of an entrenched, and often institutional, process of economic marginalization. The Guinea Bissau Livelihood Initiative aims to break the current poverty cycle affecting smallholder producers and improve livelihoods through support of government priorities on economic growth and poverty reduction with a focus on agricultural production, market access and regulatory improvements for the farming sector. GBLI will target crop diversification for food security by providing technical assistance on producing high value crops like tomatoes, onions and particularly rice, which is a priority for the national development agenda of Guinea Bissau. The program’s core goals are to provide technical assistance, infrastructure investments, access to financing and technology, and direct market linkages for small-holder farmers. The market access strategy will also focus on opportunities to improve the conditions for processing, pricing and trading of cashews, and other high value products. The underlying objectives are to economically empower poor producers (primarily women), to extract great value from their products and facilitate a more enabling regulatory and commercial environment for smallholder producers throughout the Guinea Bissau.
GBLI is working with a community of approximately 5,000 women and men employed in agricultural production. The program will engage stakeholders in Guinea Bissau’s agriculture sector through four key interventions: technical assistance and capacity building, producer investment and market linkages, policy engagement, and enterprise leadership development. In order to address the root causes of poverty GBLI will target the interrelated barriers that contribute to the fundamental breakdowns in Guinea Bissau’s agricultural economy. By leveraging GFI’s expertise in livelihood development and market access to maximize the capacity of local agricultural cooperatives and producer groups, the GBLI program aims to remove the barriers to economic opportunity for small producers in one of the world’s poorest and most isolated nations. The GBLI program is supported by the Boris and Inara Teterev Foundation.