There are 9 members of the Mavubetse Cooperative in Swaziland - and they are all grandmothers. Their children, and the parents of the young children that these grandmothers care for, have all either left to find work in South Africa or have died during Swaziland’s appalling suffering from HIV/AIDS.
Despite these difficulties, the group are earning vital income for their families. They have been working with Black Mamba for five years - growing some of the chillis for Black Mamba's range of sauces and pestos. They also grow tomatoes, spinach, green peppers, cabbages and onions - some for their own consumption and some to trade locally.
Taking advantage of the chance to sell their chillis in the fair trade market, this group have started to see some great progress:
“We started with just 500 seedlings but last year we planted 3,000 seedlings; 500 habanero, 500 jalapeno and 2,000 cayenne. We are now earning much more since we are selling chillis - and we want to grow more."
“With the money we have earned we have managed to pay for the diesel pump which we use for watering the fields and we are also able to look after our homes by buying food, paying the school fees and buying clothing.”
“In the future we want to grow more chillis so we can earn more money. We trust Black Mamba. They are a good buyer and every year they always increase the price that we get.”
But even with all this good news, there are still plenty of challenges for the cooperative:
"At the moment the temperature is really high and the plants are suffering. We can really feel the effects of climate change here.”
It's so important that this group of women can rely on stable, fair prices for their chillis - that's why Traidcraft is proud to sell Black Mamba chilli sauces and pestos.
And it seems like we're not the only ones that love these sauces:
“We really like the products, especially the spicy ones. Our chillis are very good because we don’t use chemicals and we only use natural manure. We grow using organic methods. The more chillis we can sell, the more we can benefit.”