Stories from the Field – MMO Viungo group

MMO Viungo group was established in 6th September 2017 in Kinole, Morogoro with a total of 35 members in which 16 are men and 19 women. The group is located along the ranges of the Uluguru Mountains with good climatic conditions favoring the growth of many crops. The main activities of the group are black pepper, cinnamon and cloves production as well as group saving and lending. The reason to introduce organic farming was not only to boost their production but as well to conserve the environment. The Uluguru Mountains forming the most important water catchment in the country, providing the biggest city Dar es Salaam with water through the Ruvu River.

Seedlings from the nursery are also sold to other farmers in the village

The group which is under SAT’s Uluguru Spice Project (USP) was awarded with the Organic Certificate in August this year. With using the PGS, MMO Viungo will produce under East Africa Organic Product Standards (EAOPS), which guarantee that consumers receive high quality products.

Due to the high quality of the products of the MMO Viungo Group, they were able to increase their customers and became known for organic vegetables within their village. Currently the products from MMO Viungo Group are sold in the nearby market places and in SAT Organic Shop.

Apart from vegetables production, the group established production of 8000 clove seedlings. They were motivated to do so after conducting a participatory market survey which informed them of the demand for this cash crop. They are planning to have at least 10,000 seedlings before the end of this year.

The group has the goal to bring development of the members and their village by 2020, which they define as good housing, education of children, nutritious and healthy food for their families and the whole community.

Members of MMO viungo group making compost with a SAT Facilitator

The farming activities, which are mainly taking place in individual farms, are organized and overseen by the production committee. The marketing committee scouts for demand and communicates this information to the group members. It organizes the transport and sales as well. To make sure that all farmers are on track, even if a new person is joining the group, a training committee is in place.

This system is introduced by SAT who builds capacities beyond planting crops in the field. A further innovative approach from SAT is that those farmer groups are now equipped with a smartphone, using apps to receive and send marketing information and to exchange other information as well.

Mohammed Zaidu, who is the Chairperson of the group, says that their engagement into organic agriculture is a response upon the rising demand for healthy foods.

This project is supported by: