HORTICULTURE HERO
 

Farmers in Zanzibar practiced poor agricultural practices. They were used to low productivity and failure was common. According to government statistics, for many years, Zanzibar was importing over 80% of fresh food from Tanzania mainland, including horticultural products. However, 2015 was a turning point, the Tanzanian Horticultural Association (TAHA) began to promote horticultural production in collaboration with the government of Zanzibar, FFD and the Milele Zanzibar Foundation. Today imports have declined from 80% to 40% and now most farmers in the region have a success story to tell.

Dr. Omar Mohamed Suleiman and his family of 4 children were among the poorest farmers in the region when it comes to agricultural practices. At that time, he was a Medical Doctor at Mnazimmoja Referral Hospital, and doubling as a farmer to provide enough for his family. He was producing tomato mixed with cucumbers in the family 1-acre farm, using traditional methods of farming which resulted to poor and low yields.

“I did my best trying to produce more with traditional farming methods, but it did not work as the environment keep changing. It was my desire to become successful in crop production, but failure in my early days while seeing others’ successes made me realize that changes in my farming methods were inevitable.”- says Dr Omari Mohamed

Dr. Omar Mohamed Suleiman, 50 year old (on the right) in his seedling nursery after engaging in Horticulture farming practices and innovative technologies as a TAHA Member.

Dr. Omar Mohamed Suleiman, 50 year old (on the right) in his seedling nursery after engaging in Horticulture farming practices and innovative technologies as a TAHA Member.

 

Dr Omari joined TAHA in 2017 with the need to change to Good Agricultural Practices (GAP). However, the association have a lot to offer besides agricultural practices in Horticultural based on proper technological changes which results to high yields, market demanded quality and increased income.

“I knew very little about TAHA but my first step in joining TAHA was an eye opener to success, then I realized that growing a successful crop means you must also grow in all aspects of your farming system. Without TAHA, I would have not realized the potential that is within horticulture farming. TAHA trained me on how to plan and set goals, crop management, connected me to input suppliers, and linked me with potential markets including tourist hotels", said Dr. Omari.

In one year, Dr. Omari has managed to get six times more income. Now his children attend a better school and can pay for college.

“TAHA has changed my way of thinking and gave me hope that, through knowledge and hardworking everything is possible. Now I wish to send my child to study horticulture as I have seen its impact in changing someone’s life within a short period of time”, quipped Dr. Omari.

In Zanzibar many farmers are engaging in horticultural farming with the hope of achieving their dreams in life. Nevertheless, more support from the Government of Zanzibar, NGOs, and other development partners is still needed.

We are looking for volunteers, donations and fundraisers! Contact us info@ffd.fi

Tiina Huvio
ERICK MBEBATI, TIMBER BUSINESSMAN

Thanks to your support Erick Mbebati is now a young timber businessman from Matembwe village in Njombe Region, Tanzania.

Erick was a farmer, things were not going well. Yields were low and income too. He did not have enough capital to invest in agricultural inputs and like many youth living in rural areas had difficulties to find employment. This trapped him in a precarious situation.

However, everything changed on the 1st of May 2018 when the Timber Market Centre started to operate in the village. Matembe’s Tree Growers Association (UWAMIMA) manages the Market Centre with the support of FFD and the expertise of Päijät-käme MHY.

The market opened to increase smallholder tree grower’s income by selling their timber and timber products through the Market Centre. In the first 8 months farmers have seen their income risen by 10% even if political stability and policies governing the timber business are not favourable. Though, the Market Centre has exceeded all expectations as an economic growth and decent jobs creator.

After I heard about the market centre I decided to apply for casual work and started working in the MC in mid of May 2018.
— Erick

As Erick other 35 young people from the village were employed as casual workers. Currently, 50 youth are employed as casual workers in loading and unloading, sorting, piling and drying timber, among others. Furthermore, 5 people are employed full-time in the Market by UWAMIMA.

In August my boss appointed me to be a supervisor of his business in the market. Later in November I decided to start my own business and now am supervising my own business.
— Erick

Later that year Erick joined UWAMIMA and is now benefiting from other UWAMIMA services besides the market, like bookkeeping, product diversification, briquette making and business management. Furthermore, to increase the capacity of members UWAMIMA developed a revolving fund scheme. Members can borrow money at a low interest and use it within one month and return the money to UWAMIMA. Erick is taking every opportunity the project and the market are bringing to him.

If god wishes my plan is to expand my business and employ my colleagues. I would like to say the market centre is my boss. Currently, I am able to pay fees for my young brother and sister who are now taking their secondary studies. Again, I am able to send money to my mother.
— Erick

More rural people is joining the business. In addition, others are developing services to assist the users of the market, buyers, sellers, workers and carriers. Therefore, roadside stalls are increasing in the area becoming a source of income.

Thanks to your support the market Centre is promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all (SDG-8) in the area. Many other stakeholders are looking forward to replicating the model in their own areas and regions.

Erick Mbebati in his lot in the Matembe Market Centre

Erick Mbebati in his lot in the Matembe Market Centre

 

Azam News report from the Matembe wood market in Njombe, Tanzania, explaining the benefits and challenges of being a forester and farmer and wood trader in the region. FFD and UWAMIMA are in cooperation in Tanzania.

 
Tiina Huvio
GROWING POTATOES - GROWING OPPORTUNITIES

The Faidika Farmer’s group in Kanani Village used to sell their potato harvest individually incurring high costs and feeling weak when negotiating with buyers. Today, they are organized, stronger and skilled. The Kanani Village group is one of the 103 groups who are involved in FFD’s project supporting Njombe Agricultural Development Organization in Njombe Region, Tanzania. Thanks to your donations, FFD with the expertise of ProAgria- Oulu supported 2080 potato farmers to increase yields and income during 2018.

The project follows a holistic approach built around increasing potato quality with interventions along the value chain. Farmers harvests have increased from 10MT/ha to 19MT/ha.

The recipe?

The combination of improved seeds and training in Good Agricultural Practices. Additionally, post-harvest losses have reduced thanks to improved storage techniques and storage infrastructures. Proper potato grading, collective marketing and networking strategies provided farmers with higher potato quality, regular buyers, more revenues and less costs. Income has increased 68% from 1,250,000 TSHs/acre to 1,840,000 TSHs/acre.

 “After harvesting we find a buyer together and collect our potato in the centres. Our cost of transportation has reduced because we share costs. Everyone contributes 10,000 TSHs. When we used to sell individually each farmer paid 200,000 TSHs alone. Also, profit has increased because we sell potato direct to buyers at a price of 5000TSHs/TIN. We have more profit than when selling to middlemen at a price of 4000 TSHs/ TIN”- explains the chairman

Improving rural livelihoods of small-holders means supporting women. During 2018 women made the 55% of direct beneficiaries and have earned their place as respected group leaders by outperforming grups lead by men.

Nevertheless, the situation is far from optimal. Smallholders lack economic resources, creating a pervasive loop: the inability to make investments maintains farmers in poverty.

By investing in rural organizations and value chains, you support action on the Sustainable Development Goals.

Your support is ending poverty!

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Tiina Huvio