I got involved in the trade because I needed cash income to provide for my large family. Being a divorcee, I am the only provider for my nine children that are still at home, including two grandchildren. Since I started supplying Marula kernels, the income I earn iyangisita kakhulu ekondleni umndeni wami – takes care of my family. I use my income to purchase household necessities like food and soap, hospital bills and also to pay school fees for my children and buy school uniforms. I have also cash income from Marula to contribute to a credit and savings scheme that offers loans to community members.Now, I can not imagine how my family and friends in the village could have managed without income from Marula.
When I started supplying Swazi Indigenous Products in 2005, I began supplied Marula from wild trees in Hlane’s communal lands. Now, my work involves drying and extracting marula kernels from inside the dried hard nut and also making sure that the kernels are of good quality. The kernels are pressed at the factory to produce marula oil. I now get double what I earned as a mat weaver. I am happy because my Marula work does not require as much time away from home as the mat weaving did.
Through the organic certification training programme I make more money and I have more information on the right areas to collect the marula, how to store and grade the kernels and make sure they are very high quality. I have changed the way I farm my fields and keep records of the trees harvested to make sure that my kernels are the best quality. I have also been taught how to plant marula trees. Each year I make sure I plant at least one tree.