SAT’s Contribution to the SDGs

Have you heard of the Sustainable Development Goals, short “SDGs”? The SDGs are a set of goals formulated by an initiative of the same name by the United Nations, established in 2015 as a successor of the “Millennium Development Goals” which had covered the time-span from 2000-2015. These goals name the main tasks the UN identified for achieving a better world for all its inhabitants by the year 2030. They are structured in 17 topics, which are the following: No Poverty; Zero Hunger; Good Health and Well-Being; Quality Education; Gender Equality; Clean Water and Sanitation; Affordable and Clean Energy; Decent Work and Economic Growth; Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; Reduced Inequalities; Sustainable Cities and Communities; Responsible Production and Consumption; Climate Action; Life Below Water; Life on Land; Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions; Partnership for the Goals.

These topics are subdivided into concrete 169 targets, amounting to ten targets per goal on average. No organization can focus on every goal, let alone every single target. Most actors therefore have key activities and focus on a few topics to which they then allocate their resources. For example, there are organizations which place a focus on health, maybe even only on certain diseases like malaria or HIV/Aids. Others are dedicated to Life Below Water and aim to clear the oceans from plastic.

As you know, SAT’s expertise is sustainable agriculture. This sounds like as narrow a focus as the examples mentioned above, and in a way, it is. At first glance, strengthening agriculture helps against hunger, the 2nd goal. Furthermore, it is obvious that SAT’s focus on organic agriculture plays into goal 12, Responsible Production and Consumption, and some health benefits (goal 3) associated with organic farming – both through producing without potentially hazardous fertilizers and pesticides, as well as the quality of the products themselves – are well-known too.

However, agriculture has a much wider scope. This can be illustrated with a few facts: 68% of Tanzanians live in rural areas (world-wide, the share is less than 50%). 60% of Tanzanians are primarily employed in agriculture, 52% of them being women. 91% of land-owners are small-scale farmers with less than 20 ha of land, and although 52% of workers in agriculture are women, they only own 20% of the land. Lastly, agriculture contributes 26% of Tanzania’s climate gas emissions (CO2 equivalents).[1]

We could share many more facts, but you get the point: In that short list of facts, we tackled topics like poverty, inequality, gender, and climate change. This observation shows that agriculture is more than just mere food production: It is a core pillar of society and life in Tanzania, just as in many other regions in the world. This means that somebody who tackles issues in this sector, like SAT, automatically takes responsibility for many sectors that are linked with it. Below, you find a list compiled by us that shows to what degree we contribute to tackling these issues. In order to give you an idea of what the percentages mean, take two examples:

  1. Zero Hunger: 100%. This means that SAT contributes to all targets listed under this goal. Strengthened agriculture will reduce malnourishment, enhance child development, and make farmers less dependent on subsidies.
  2. Good Health and Well-Being: 15%. This number indicates that our work does have a positive impact on people’s health. Organic agriculture is positively linked with various health benefits both on the producer and consumer side. However, this goal includes a number of targets regarding infectious diseases like HIV or hepatitis, which are not within SAT’s expertise.

We hope this article gives you a good impression on the key competences of SAT, but also enables you to understand the wider scope that our work directly affects.

100% SAT contributes to fighting poverty by enabling farmers in rural areas to change their agricultural habits for higher production, and to get access to urban markets, thus increasing income. A focus on organic agriculture reduces dependencies on industrialized products like fertilizers and pesticides, thereby reducing expenditure.

100% Increasing and stabilizing harvests through SAT trainings and projects, as well as increasing income of rural populations, directly helps to fight hunger in poor areas.

15% By introducing organic agriculture, SAT enables farmers to apply sustainable techniques which do not rely on industrial products such as fertilizers or pesticides. This results in less contamination of food, water and soil.

20% Increased income and food security, as well as equal treatment of women and men, will lead to higher school attendance of children.

75% Gender equality is one of SAT’s core values. Therefore, it is ensured that every farmer group has a high proportion of female members, often exceeding 50%. Some groups are exclusively female.

10% Avoiding hazardous chemicals for agriculture and instead focusing on natural and organic matter protects local water sources, thereby providing the community with sustainable clean sources of water.

10% SAT is currently investigating methods of charcoal production from organic waste material, thereby reducing the need for open fires and cutting trees to obtain energy sources.

60% Farmers who collaborate with SAT get the opportunity to learn a wide variety of agricultural techniques, as well as methods in finance and business administration, to create their individual portfolio of products to offer.

55% Innovation is a stronghold of SAT’s activities. Not only are the local farmers taught in innovative agricultural practices; SAT’s innovation hub furthermore brings together actors from various fields to create linkages.
Reduced Inequalities 40% Working with local farmers in rural areas directly benefits some of the poorest population in Tanzania, thus reducing inequality. Furthermore, SAT has established itself as a voice in an international context.

35% Food production is a major part of economic productivity and consumption not only in rural areas, but in urban regions as well. Introducing organic production therefore plays an integral role in making urban spaces more sustainable.

100% SAT encourages production and consumption of organic foods anywhere. Farmers furthermore learn techniques to use organic materials productively, for example for fertilizer production or energy use.

90% SAT is implementing agroforestry in various scenarios to positively affect the micro-climate and further introduce greater climate schemes via a carbon offsetting scheme.

5% By establishing organic agriculture and thus reducing the runoff of hazardous substances into the small streams, SAT helps in keeping streams free from pollution.

45% Agriculture shapes landscapes everywhere, and therefore sustainable use of spaces is paramount to secure life on land in threatened regions.

20% SAT encourages civil solution of conflict in all its endeavours. The farmer groups are organized towards that goal, with clear structures.

100% SAT actively enables and creates a multitude of partnerships to work for the common goals such as reducing poverty and protecting the environment.

[1] Source: CIAT; World Bank. 2017. Climate-Smart Agriculture in Tanzania. CSA Country Profiles for Africa Series. International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT); World Bank, Washington, D.C. 25 p