Uluguru Spice Project – Tugende, Kibwaya village, Mkuyuni ward, Morogoro region
Msakuzi Idd, a spice farmer from Tujikomboe Farmer Group, introduced SAT to Kibwaya village as part of the Farmer to Farmer approach. After the introduction to organic agriculture at the village meeting, many did not believe that this kind of agriculture would work. Most of the farmers in the community were using conventional farming methods and were sceptical of transforming their way of production. Many thought that it is a “joke, how should pesticides out of natural ingredients work? That is not possible!”. Some feared that when they would change their farm to organic they wouldn´t have good production or not any harvest at all and lose their main source of income. At the end of the meeting 20 farmers decided to form this group nevertheless.
Due to the climatic condition in Kibwaya, many farmers produce spices, just like all the members of Tugende group who decided to prepare a common plot that they use as a nursery for their spice plants. From that nursery they take the plants, divide them equally amongst the members and then transplant them into their own farms. Like this they are able to exchange crops easily if needed. That was also one of the reasons why Mengi wanted to be part of the group; “Like this we are now able to share crops, so if I want to plant clove for example I can ask my group members who can share them with me if I don´t have them available at the moment.”, he says. Another reason for joining this group was to have more unity within the farmers in the area. When one needs support it is now a lot easier to ask for help and work together. That is also why they chose that group name – “Tugende” – its Kiluguru and means let´s go together.
Together with the Farmer Facilitator Msakuzi, they established objectives and goals for the group. The main goal is that every farmer of the group plants 500 trees of clove in open land and creates agroforestry systems. Because of this spice’s high demand, chances are high to sell it on the market with good profit. Through that, the living standards of the farmers shall improve, and with tree planting, farmers practice climate action contributing to the SDGs. This case is exemplary for the Uluguru Spice Project (USP) which is supported by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and Land Voralberg.
Every Tuesday the group receives a visit from a their farmer facilitator who gives input on how to improve and further develop their farms. The focus is diversified from spice production, various vegetables, poultry and bee hives as well as entrepreneurship and group saving and lending. The group plans to buy their own processing machine for their spices so that they can sell them as final products in the market in the future.
As you can read from three of the members, they are on the right track;
When Zaujia Miraji Omari decided to join the group her family and even her friends told her not to. They said she should rather continue what she is doing. “You are wasting your time”, they said. Zaujia was convinced about organic agriculture and very eager to improve her farm. She put all the efforts in developing it further. She started to make compost and produce her own natural medicine for the plants which lead to a good production and better soil conditions. Now, after her friends and family see how well she is doing and how much she improved from joining this group they are very proud of her and support her. Thanks to the income and savings and lending Zaujia was able to open her own business. She has a shop where she sells Kitenge (local fabrics) and soap. Every week she goes to town, buys fabric and brings it to her customers in the village.
She has big plans for the future and hopes that she will be able to buy a motorbike soon to make the way to town and transport of the goods she buys easier and more efficient. On her farm she plans to have 1.000 plants of clove until 2021.
Mengi Juma Sume was one of the farmers who did not really believe that joining the group and organic farming would really change anything. He attended the training nevertheless just to see what it is about. After he learned about compost making, he got very excited and started applying it on his farm immediately. From then on he was convinced that he made the right choice to join the group. He started with intercropping and he could see how organic farming was actually changing and improving his yield and the quality of his products.
Mengi’s goal was to become a farmer facilitator – he achieved that goal. He is training other farmers on organic agricultural techniques. He enjoys doing that and is happy that he can help others, because he profited so much from this group. Because of it he was able to establish his own fruit business that helps him with improving his income.
Msakuzi the Farmer to Farmer (F2F) facilitator was able to finally buy his own plot to grow spices. His goal is to be the biggest farmer in the village.
The most important thing he learned from SAT is compost making. According to him the soil fertility on his farm changed to the better because of it. He is taking good care of his soil now and knows how to manage it better. Before he joined the group, he was randomly planting his trees, but now he measures the spacing and knows exactly how the distances from one plant to another must be. Msakuzi received extra training as a facilitator and with his experience he now trains the farmers of Tugende Kibwaya with technical backstopping from SAT facilitators.
One thing he plans for the future is to supply his farm with an irrigation system. Even though the region is receiving regular and enough rainfall throughout the year, he is afraid that due to the changing climate the rain will not always be enough for his crops to grow.
After seeing how well the group is performing many citizens of the village want to learn about organic farming as well. They now no longer think that making pesticides out of natural things is a joke, they know that it can improve their farms and the beautiful environment they live in. With help from the group and SAT they will form another group in Kibwaya.
Group members inspecting the development of the vanilla plant
This project is supported by ADA with 150,000 EUR & LV 100,000 EUR