Most of the individual farmers in Tanzania produce very little quantity of crop produces, have no access to premium market, no bargaining power and have no knowledge of the quality standards required. Now having information about the quality and quantity of their produces can help change this all.
Having the right information is the most powerful tool in many processes, the same goes for agriculture. Information and data are very important things for a farmer to have a successful harvest and business.
“Without data you’re just another person with an opinion.” Edwards Deming, Statistician
Spice farmers under the Uluguru Spice project II need valid data about their production so as they can have clear picture of the possible outcomes in harvest and therefore to meet the demand of the hungry market.
How can farmers get this information?
During the Spice farmers workshop at Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SAT) Head offices in February, which was facilitated by SAT facilitators, farmers learned step by step how they can use different tools to collect and summarize information of their produces.
SAT Staff explaining to farmers about filling the forms for data collection.
The workshop was attended by 21 farmers, including farmers from different spice farmer groups together with their leaders.
SAT Professional explains
The workshop aim was that with this information collected, farmers can have secured and well-paying market for their organic produces. Since data is at the core of such endeavors it is important for farmers to know efficient ways in collecting data. The information collected will be amount of yield in the previous and coming season so they can know what type of crops are doing great, the time period expected for harvest and also the type of crops they planted. SAT builds hereby on a hybrid approach which combines modern components like smartphones with ordinary record keeping like feeling forms. Organized in WhatsApp groups farmers can make pictures and send information about their produces from their respective farmer group supply and share it within their cooperative network. This helps them have a strong negotiation position to agree on lucrative prices.
What specific areas to focus on?
Data will be collected from farms that are within the Ruvu river catchment area along the slopes of the Uluguru Mountains. The shared data includes an estimate of the expected harvest, age and quantity of the trees, and expected harvest time.
This project is supported by Austrian Development Agency (ADA), the operational unit of Austrian Development Cooperation, and Land Vorarlberg.
Every year our farmers plant and harvest their fruits, vegetables, and spices, amongst other things. Their crops, once harvested, are then marketed and sold under an organic label. How can we be assured that these crops are organic? They must go under a certification process – specifically under “Kilimo Hai”.
The Certification-Production system is focused on quality assurance based on certifying producers and active participation of stakeholders to build trust and social networks, and foster knowledge exchange.
At Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SAT), we encourage our farmers to be certified under the Kilimo Hai Certification which is offered by Tanzania Organic Agriculture Movement (TOAM), so the farmers could access and enjoy the benefits that come along with the certification.
The certification process begins with the mobilization of farmers and the formation of groups. These groups are instructed directly by facilitators from SAT or through F2F (farmer to farmer) facilitators. Through their training, they are made familiar with organic production and good practices, as well as activities conducted by SAT in collaboration with farmers and TOAM representatives.
Afterward, the groups are sorted based on a few different criteria
Needs of the group.
How actively are the members participating in group activities.
The quality of leadership portrayed by their leader.
Marketing challenges faced by the group.
This process means grouping the farmers according to their production needs and capacity which serves as a primary point that boosts their productivity. They are then trained thoroughly on:
Standards on Organic Farming (EAOPS) and Compliance.
Participatory guarantee system (Peer to Peer Assessment) and how it works utilizing established committees within the groups.
External assessment and certification.
The certification process has attracted more farmers over time:
· In 2019 the number of certified farmers was 835 with an expectation of certifying 1245 farmers (763 spice farmers and 482 as vegetable and fruits producers) by the end of this year.
· There has been an increase in land involved in organic farming from 525.6 acres in 2019 to 1062.3 acres in 2020
All this was achieved after the farmers:
· benefitted from premium price for their products, which attracted new farmers to undergo the certification process.
· were ready to learn and spread awareness about organic agriculture.
· saw the increase in their income from the value addition on the sales of their product.
· were able to minimize the cost of production and maximize profits
Through this process, we are thereby able to continue achieving our goal of stimulating soil and environmental conservation which is our agroecological goal in practicing organic agriculture.
FairCarbon4Us a movement that addresses a global challenge and helps small-scale farmers around Morogoro and the Uluguru Mountains.
Carbon dioxide emissions are the primary driver of global climate change. As pioneers of sustainability in East Africa, we, Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania take on the task of mitigating these effects in our region of Morogoro – with particular regards to protecting the Uluguru Mountains, through FairCarbon4Us.
As we experience rising temperatures globally, this effect is seen in our environment with a particular detriment to the agricultural sector. Crop seasonality is affected and becomes less stable to predict, in addition to crops lacking general resilience to these changes. In the end, hardworking farmers and their communities are deeply affected by loss of productivity – and as a result, income. In the end, we are all affected and have much to lose if we do not act now.
Mitigating the drastic effects of climate change requires us to unite our efforts, through the FairCarbon4Us movement – together we can more precisely target our efforts to address this global challenge. With your contribution, farmers will plant trees, thus mitigating climate change. These trees will help farmers protect their environment, reduce soil erosion, and increase their productivity. A win-win situation for us all!
With a donation of EUR 6 for a tree, you enable a farmer to plant a tree:
EUR 2 goes directly into the farmer’s pocket for their efforts in planting and managing the tree.
EUR 2 is used for training courses such as nursery management and pest control.
EUR 2 is used for monitoring and evaluation of the projects. We ensure that the trees are indeed planted and well managed.
Spread the Christmas spirit this holiday season by working together with us to enable our farmers further and combat climate change
Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SAT) is inviting undergraduate (only final year) and postgraduate students from Sokoine University of Agriculture to the 7th Workshop for Participatory Research Design (WPRD) which will be held on 12th December 2020 at the ISWILO Complex Hall located at Kihonda Manyuki from 08:00am – 6.00pm. WPRD is part of the Farmer Centered Research Program (FCRP) which provides solutions for small scale farmers who are practicing agro-ecological farming methods. The FCRP decentralizes the research process and puts the farmers at the center where they can express their key issues. With addressing these issues students start collaborations with farmers for designing and conducting participatory research. Interested students who want to attend the WPRD, are required to fill the online application form for registration. Only registered students can attend the workshop.
The research clusters for 2020/21 are:
Pests and diseases:
Cattle foot and mouth disease
Concentration of biopesticides (neem powder) on controlling FAW
Cinnamon leave wilting disease
Development of yellowish color on turmeric leaves
Pastoralists want to know practices towards improving dry forage productivity
Improvement of soil fertility as a potential control measure for spikes shedding and stem wilting of pepper
Post-harvesting of maize
Post-harvesting of black pepper
The WPRD provide a platform where researchers, research supervisors, organic farmers and pastoralists work together and focus on existing problems related to land management, marketing, organic crop and livestock production. The output of the WPRD will be questions identified by farmers, pastoralists and students, which can later be answered through action research (special projects – Bachelor theses).
All registered students can attend the 1st part of the WPRD (8:00am till 12:30pm) which will include:
Introduction to Agroecology
Introduction to Participatory Research
Research Presentation from FCRP 2019/2020
Podium Discussion with Farmers & Pastoralists
Afterwards SAT will announce 60 students who will be selected according to their submitted applications. Those students are invited to attend the 2nd part of WPRD (01:30pm till 6.00pm) which will include:
Defining Research Questions & Design (Group-work together with farmers and lecturers)
Presenting Research Questions & Design
The students who will attend the 2nd part of the WPRD will be afterwards invited to submit a concept note. This concept note will be a suggested special project (Bachelor thesis), which must be in line with a WPRD cluster outcome. The selected bachelor students will receive research grants of TZS 1,100,000/= to conduct research in collaboration with farmers. And the selected postgraduate students will receive a grant of TZS 3,300,000/=.
The deadline for receiving applications is 10th December 2020. All applications must be filled online. Transport to and from the venue will be available from the respective campuses (Mazimbu and Main campus) at 7:30AM
Have you ever wondered how a particular curriculum came to existence or how the module went through? Yes, it is a process. A process of collecting data so as a goal can be drafted and a gathering of various potential people to see the goal through and this case a Curriculum for Agricultural Colleges.
SAT, Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania. A non-profit organization that spreads the word and practices of sustainable agriculture in Tanzania. Based in Morogoro, they bear the flagship of organic farming and have they farmers trained to adopt the organic farming practices, while helping these farmers place into market the produce they come up with after the harvest.
Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania in collaboration with, 4 experts from Ministry of Agriculture, 2 from NACTE and 36 from agricultural colleges through the CISTI Project have gathered at the FTC in Vianzi, to see through the accomplishment of their common goal, an update of the current curriculum.
Arriving at Vianzi on October the 14th ,the experts went through the comments and information gathered from the practitioners and experts in the agricultural field, based on the demands of the skill set and how these skills are supplied to establish a rapport on how to go through with the whole process of reviewing the curriculum.
A team play in smaller panels and sometimes as one large group, came up with learning outcomes, supporting outcomes and sub supporting outcomes. The sub supporting outcomes are then merged to come up with the modules which are a core of this review.
Looking forward to the curriculum update, these experts would skillfully match the skill set extracted from the modules created to the demand of the job market. In which they would have catered for the skill set that lacked when the old curriculum was used and will have help achieve 50% of the knowledge expansion in the organic agriculture and its practices.
The review of this curriculum is taken as a high-end process that would bring remarkable changes in the agricultural sector in terms of the education provided to the devotees of agriculture and the practical skills instilled in them and having these skills earned cater for the demands in the agricultural field, cooperatives and gender related issues, while securing income and alleviating food insecurity.
The future of agricultural education looks brighter, thanks to the efforts invested by SAT and the CISTI which are funded by Liechtensteinischer Entwicklungsdienst (LED) by 2022 more than 9000 agricultural devotees are expected to be no longer tied up to the outdated practices in the current and modern world.
The SAT employees, our board members and our CEO’s all stood in “formation”. A long uniform line, full of eager and excited faces. The SAT employees all sharply wearing our grey polo shirts with the SAT logo boldly and proudly embedded on the left-hand side. Our CEO’s, stood right at the front of the line. Just as excited for this moment, that we had all been looking forward too.
The date is September 25th 2020, just a little after 13.00 hrs, we are all gathered at Vianzi, in the Mvomero district, a 20km from Morogoro City. Our mission? To welcome the Permanent Secretary of The Ministry of Agriculture Mr. Gerald M. Kusaya, to share with him our story, show him our facilities and have him assist us with opening new buildings at our SAT Training Centre. Mr. Kusaya’s visit to us represents a chance to not only show our progress thus far, but an assurance and a confidence that we are walking arm in arm with the Government in our goal for a 100% organic future.
We, SAT are a non-governmental organization in Tanzania founded in 2009, headquartered in Morogoro. Our target is to ensure the majority of farmers are using acknowledged agro-ecological methods to improve their livelihoods. Which will then aid in the conservation of our environment and ultimately reduce pressure on natural resources.
Our SAT Training Centre, in Vianzi is expanding, with a set of new buildings almost complete. The set of buildings will include a new head office and dormitories among other areas. They will mainly be targeted for use in our CISTI or Curriculum Implementation Support for Training Institutes project. CISTI is a project aimed at producing graduates in line with the country’s needs, as it relates to organic agriculture among other things. Thus far we are in collaboration with 29 Universities, have trained 83 tutors and completed 5 compendiums specific to this project.
In addition to the CISTI project we also run the Uluguru Spice Project (USP) where the target is for the majority of Tanzanian small-scale farmers to benefit from organic farming practices which reduce poverty, increase climate resilience and reduce the pressure on the environment. Another notable project we work on is Farmers and Pastoralists Collaboration (FCP), which aims to use a circular economy approach to bring the two conflicting parties together (farmers and pastoralists), building peace through integrated agroecological methods.
We believe continued investment and development of The SAT Training Centre will help us to achieve our aim of building towards an agroecological future, equipping farmers and others with the right knowledge which they themselves will go on to spread.
Mr. Kusaya maintained a look of awe and admiration, as we told him our story, showed him our facilities and the little self-sustainable “village”, we had built in what seemingly looks like a random and remote part of the country. The community we have built lies in stark contrast to what was there before…Nothing. Alex, our Operations CEO, fondly shared the story of how years ago when he was exploring possible locations to start building, he stumbled upon this very place and upon telling the locals his plans of transforming it, they laughed and said he must have got some “Jua Kali” on the way here!
As far as we have come, we at SAT still do have a long way to go to making the SAT Training Centre, in Vianzi, the organic educational hub we envision it to be. We mentioned to Mr. Kusaya our lack of electricity and water at Vianzi as well as the poor road infrastructure that leads to our Centre. He assured us and all our stakeholders present, that he takes our needs very seriously and will address them as best as he can. Insisting that we will always have a friend in the Government.
As such we look forward to working arm in arm with our key partners; Biovision, LED, ADA, Land Vorarlberg as well as the government of the United Republic of Tanzania towards building a 100% organic future for Tanzania.
We are living in a digital age. The internet has become a key part of our lives; it determines how we interact with one another, how we do business and how we plan our lives among many other things. The key for any business in this environment, is to leverage these new technologies to our benefit and to the benefit of our stakeholders.
At Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania our vision is for the majority of farmers to use acknowledged agroecological farming methods to improve their livelihoods, conserve the environment and reduce pressure on natural resources. To reach this goal effectively, digitization must be a key element in our approach.
Digitization at SAT largely depends on the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) component established at SAT. The SAT ICT component is a component introduced by SAT to solve the problems that face smallholder farmers such as lack of markets, lack of information, lack of timely support and assistance in problem solving. SAT ICT employs various tools to ensure that farmers focus more on production which will ultimately lead to an increase their profits.
Farmers always need to make key decisions such as what to grow, how to grow, when to grow, where to sell, what quality is required, when to sell, what price to charge etc… Strengthening our smallholder farmers’ access to timely and accurate information improves their productivity as well their bargaining power and understanding of marketing functions which improves farmers’ market share.
The tools used by SAT ICT include mobile applications and services that help us, help farmers. The first stage involved in the digitization process is training our farmers on how to use smartphones and applications that are essential in information sharing. Some of the mobile applications used include WhatsApp and Machosauti. How did you learn how to use a smartphone? Let me guess, you played around? That is exactly the way we train our farmers through engaging them in interactive games where they use WhatsApp and other software to solve problems, such as finding the best prices or the best solution for a farming problem.
WhatsApp is a mobile application which is used for general communication purposes and media. Media such as text, pictures, audio, and videos can all be shared using this platform through the internet. First, we wanted all our farmers to share their challenges. That almost did not happen. Instead farmers started by sharing their successes, which, turned out to be a positive in itself, as it motivated other farmers to copy their ecological farming methods. However, there are still some burning questions out in the field.
Machosauti is another mobile application developed by Dr. Eugenio Tiselli and financed by SWISSAID in Tanzania. It involves media exchange in the form of text, audio and pictures as well as a webpage interface for interaction between users of the application. Here farmers are invited to upload challenges which later will be responded to by other farmers and technical experts from SAT. The benefit of this app is that farmers can later access all the solutions since they are saved for long-term use. This is its benefit when compared to WhatsApp.
However, for quick knowledge exchange WhatsApp is still the unbeatable favorite for small scale farmers. An example of one group managed on this app is ‘’Wakulima Kilimo Hai’’ (in English the “Organic Farmers”). This WhatsApp group includes 43 farmer groups, seven marketing scouts, and a plenty of SAT facilitators who act as technical consultants. In total, we have 93 farmer groups on WhatsApp, reaching, at present, more than 2740 farmers.
Apart from learning the best organic farming methods, farmers are also longing for marketing information. Currently we have market scouts from seven different markets named Tawa, Mkuyuni, Kinole, Mwazo Mgumu, Mjini, Kariakoo and Kiroka. They are responsible for collecting market information on price variation for different products (spices, vegetables, fruits, pulses, and cereal products) on a weekly basis. Market scouts are provided with smart phones, enabling them to collect market information and share it with farmer groups. We at SAT wanted to ensure that prices for up to 40 products are efficiently shared from several markets, the first option was to do so through an app. Due to high costs, however, we decided to use an alternative way which is a mix of analog and digital components building on the existing software; WhatsApp.
The approach is simple but effective; market scouts use a printed template which they fill out on the market day with all the respective prices. From the piece of paper, a picture is made, and this is the point where analog turns digital. The information is then shared on the WhatsApp where it can be accessed by hundreds of farmers. Farmers immediately see the current prices and can call the market scout to ensure there is demand for their products. SAT collects the data and builds a database of years’ worth of information which helps to advise farmers as best as possible. Our experience has shown that prices can fluctuate highly between markets. Therefore, sometimes incurring a higher transport cost can lead to much more profit through selling it at a more profitable market. We, at SAT, are committed to improving and expanding by adding more market scouts to the Dar salaam and Dodoma markets.
Financial services is another key element of our SAT ICT component. Smallholder farmers are a major part of the population in Tanzania as it relates to the agricultural sector. Unfortunately, they are usually excluded from formal financial services. Digital financial services via mobile money technology represent an opportunity to enable financial inclusion among this group.
One avenue for facilitating this is to digitize the agriculture value chains that some smallholder farmers are a part of. This provides a secure movement of the cash the farmers are paid through mobile money services. This ensures their security as well as preventing the need for farmers to move from their localities to receive payments. This system is faster, easier, cheaper, and more secure than the conventional system where they needed to move, incurring more costs in the process. Currently mobile money is used as the payment method for farmers who are producing various products. Briefly summarized this is all revolutionary technology which allows coops and farmer groups to work on a highly transparent level which is key to success.
With all these initiatives it is necessary to know where we stand. We measure our impact through collecting data with using the online app KoboToolBox. By using this technology, we have all information on the “cloud” ready to be analyzed with our statistical software.
As technologies and digitization continues to grow and shape our world. We will look to grow with it, prioritizing our farmers and their needs, leading us all to a future with is not only digital but also 100% organic.
Mexico, Denmark, Scotland, Germany, India, Israel and Tanzania. What do those countries have in common? The answer is not obvious and does take some digging. Or in this case farming.
All the above-mentioned countries have organizations or people who are finalists in the One World Award (OWA). The OWA is the most prestigious international accolade from the Organic movement. It centers on rewarding innovative activities in ecological, social and economic sustainability.
Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SAT) our humble but rapidly growing, organic movement situated in the warm heart of Africa, holds the continents flag high as one of the seven finalists.
The grand prize? Money, recognition and the chance to take home, Mother Nature, or in this case, “Lady Obert”, a bold statue which features the earth on top of a figure of a woman. A striking image which will be awarded to the most daring and most dynamic organization which promotes sustainability. A description which was tailormade for SAT.
We, SAT are a non-governmental organization in Tanzania founded in 2009 headquartered in Morogoro. Our mission? Ensuring the majority of farmers are using acknowledged agro-ecological methods to improve their livelihoods. Which will aid in conservation of our environment and ultimately reduce pressure on natural resources.
Bernward Geier, OWA coordinator and chairman of the OWA jury, came to Tanzania for a three day visit as part of the selection process. He spent his three days touring our various facilities, meeting our employees and of course meeting the most important people of all; Our Farmers.
As part of his visit Bernward, gave the SAT staff a lecture about what the award means and delivered a call to action. A call to dream big about a 100% organic future for everyone.
“How many of you think Tanzania will be 100% organic by 2050?”, he asked. A tough question, with which some were hesitant to commit too. His response to his own question was damning yet inspiring. Warning us that we, and the world do not have that much time, at best we must execute change within 10 years. A challenge which we all rose to and accepted with roaring cries of “Kilimo Hai!”
By the end of his three day visit we had showed him our farming techniques, shared our dreams, practiced our culture together and taught him our dance moves. Every step of the way Bernward, and Daniel (his cameraman), joined in on our fun and our lessons, while sharing many of their own. While we wished them a heartfelt goodbye, we are consoled by the idea that we will reunite on a stage in February 2021 to collect and to protect “Lady Obert”.
You can learn about our farming practices by registering for our Farming Training Courses. Click here for further details.
Adrian Barnabas is one of the many Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SAT) facilitators presenting to customers at the annual Nane Nane exhibition.
The mission towards an organic future is one which is close to his heart. He has been working at SAT for 2 years now, starting out as an intern and now part of the permanent staff. He believes “Health is everything” and that educating both farmers and the general public is the key to the better future he is fighting for.
He shared with us his top 4 personal favorite technologies that SAT is showcasing at Nane Nane.
WHAT? Jokofu La Asili
WHY? A cold room made from materials which are cheap and easily accessible to locals, it utilizes burned bricks, sand and sacks to ensure food stays cold and fresh long after harvest.
WHAT? Shamba Kichanja
WHY? A portable backyard garden. People need not worry about a lack of space, you can not only grow different kinds of produce together but you can also easily uproot the garden and move it around.
WHAT? Energy Saving Stove
WHY? This stove is made with raw materials which are easily accessible to locals, materials like clay soil and burned bricks. It is very efficient and uses very little firewood to cook. Furthermore, it has an oven like feature at the bottom to keep your food warm, long after you have finished cooking it.
WHAT? Kilimo cha Terrace
WHY? A lot of farmers in Morogoro and around the country are surrounded by hilly terrain. This technique of planting crops in what resembles a staircase, shows that you can successfully farm on such terrain. It helps with combating soil erosion as well as reducing the amount of water used.