2014, our first full year of operating the SAT Farmer Training Centre, has afforded us many a wonderful experience! Since our opening last May we have conducted 20 courses attended by 424 participants. Together we learned how to cook in food processing, cured ourselves and made soap in natural medicine, created compost and botanical pesticides in organic agriculture and produced useful resources out of waste in sustainable waste management.
Our FTC hosted participants from 17 different regions of Tanzania which included Morogoro, Dar es Salaam, Coast, Tanga, Dodoma, Shinyanga, Mara, Mwanza, Kagera, Manyara, Kilimanjaro, Arusha, Zanzibar, Lindi, Mtwara, Iringa and Njombe and even from surrounding countries such as Kenya. Among them also were farmers and field officers from major organizations and organic companies such as BioRe, Great African Food Company (GAFCO), World Vision Same Cluster, Tanzania Forestry Conservation Group (TFCG), SNV, Swisscontact, CARITAS Mbeya, ZZG Netherlands and Zanzibar State Trading Coorporation (ZSTC) who chose our trainings in order to enable their farmers and field officers get a broader view in organic farming techniques and strengthen their knowledge on their practices.
It gave us joy to receive feedback from our participants who claim they are now able to increase their yields with the learned organic farming practices and need less costly inputs. Participants particularly welcomed the practical approach of our courses, which gave them the opportunity to apply the theory and to learn in a more hands-on kind of way. This is a very important point for us as we want our participants to be able to apply the acquired knowledge by themselves after attending our courses.
One of our highlights last year has been our Attract Youth to Agriculture Camp. With 42 participants from three different regions of Tanzania this has been one of our most intensive courses. We used a framework more appealing to youth and adapted the schedule accordingly. We taught a set of skills including organic agriculture, basics of entrepreneurship and food processing whilst framing the programme with educational games and activities. On following up with the participants of this course, we were happy to see that many have applied the learned skills and have even started off their own small businesses.
Besides our regular courses our FTC also hosted an important event for the research community in the field of agriculture, the first Workshop on Participatory Research Design in Tanzania. During this workshop academic researchers and farmers gathered in order to discuss the most burning issues in agriculture for local farmers and make an initial design to find a solution to these issues.
2014 has truly been an eventful first year for our Farmer Training Centre and we expect this year to afford many more experiences. The Schedule for 2015 is already out and we are looking very much forward to get started!
We thank all our partners and supporters who made it possible for these results to be achieved. We are striving to offer more quality trainings.