Interview with Henry Goster

Project Coordinator Henry Goster

The period for paying back the loans, which farmers got from Get Up stand Up Project is here. Our office caught up with the Project Coordinator, Henry Goster to find out the situation in the fields and their expectation on the collection of the loans.

Can you shed more light on the situation in the fields?
The situation out there is not much good due to erratic rains that affected most parts of the country and areas around Balaka District. According to what we observed during the time we were inspecting fields of 17 groups starting from 24thNovember 2011, majority of our beneficiaries will not harvest enough as it was expected although they tried to follow all the steps of farming.

Will these farmers then manage to pay back the loan?
We have been receiving letters from our beneficiaries asking us to allow them to start paying back the loan in May as some of these farmers also grew cash crops like tobacco, cotton, tomatoes and millet, and markets for these crops except tobacco are not opened. The farmers have promised us that they will pay back as soon as they sell their produce.

Last year the project had 20 groups and now we have seen that the number of groups has been reduced to 17. Can you explain why this has happened?
It’s true that we reduced the number of groups from 20 to 17. This is so because some groups delayed in paying back the loans. They were asked to start paying back the loans from April to August but some failed to give us back the loan so that we could purchase the farm inputs for them in time. We then decided to work with only those who finished paying and those who showed the heart to promote the project for their own good.

What has been the relationship like between the project and farmers since the project started?
Our relationship has been good ever since the project was started and we have been conducting meetings with them so that we can share our views. I believe this has also strengthened our relationship.

Since you were appointed the project coordinator for “Get up Stand Up”, what can you say about the project?
It’s a lifesaving project and Malawi being a country whose people depend on farming, farmers are now able to get the farm inputs loan from the project and pay as they get without any interest. This is for me the first time I see this happening. I have seen that the project is receiving support from farmers, the cooperative and also our friends from Italy.

How do you look at the project’s future?
The project will have a good future only if farmers will not let us down and the support we are receiving from all stakeholders continues as it is now and there are also areas which need much support. One of these areas is transport. For us to make regular visit to farmers we need to have good transport like motorcycles. If this problem can be solved, I can assure you that this project will be the best project the cooperative has ever had.

Advertisements