How Pastoralists Spread Their Agroecological Skills

“This is my bike”, says Pendo Ndemo pointing at a bicycle that peers between a group of Masai women. They have gathered in the shade of a veranda. Outside, the light is dazzling. Now and then, a hot and dry breath of wind tells how harsh it would be without the roof. “I use the bike to visit the members of Tupendane group”, Pendo continues. She is a Pastoralist to Pastoralist Facilitator, and therefore one of the crucial persons in multiplying the skills she acquired before.

Tupendane pastoralist group gathering in a veranda's shade

Pendo’s group, Nameloki (‘Good Luck’), started their training with SAT in 2017. “Since then, we made a lot of progress. We have 30 crossbreed goats and three cows that are offspring of our traditional sort and a beautiful Mpwapwa bull.” These animals are more heavily built than the Masai’s customary livestock but well adapted to the environment. “Of course, these cattle eat a bit more. But thanks to our stock of hay, this is no problem anymore.”

What Pendo refers to here, is part of a fundamental change of habits. Traditionally, Masai would roam the savanna with their herds to search for grazeland and waterholes. Especially during the dry season, this involves wandering long distances. Through the Farmers and Pastoralists Collaboration (FPC) project, they learnt how to cultivate their pastures with nutritious grasses, and to bale hay for the following period. “Of course, we had our ways to relieve this problem a bit”, Pendo explains. “We fenced off suitable areas so that the fodder grasses would remain for tough times. Then, we would let our cows in for grazing. But these areas usually didn’t last for long.”

In addition to that transformation, FPC also encourages pastoralists to grow crops. This raises their awareness of how it is like when cows invade a crop field. It is a goal of this project to reduce conflicts between farmers and pastoralists. First impressions imply that it works well, evaluation is underway. There is no doubt, though, that the Masai remarkably improved their variety of food through farming.

Eventually, however, water is the source of life. That is why SAT supported the pastoralists with digging a reservoir big enough to quench the thirst of their cattle. Nameloki’s watering-place lies amidst the labyrinth of bald trunks and mostly naked branches in all shades of brown, yellow and ochre, characteristic for the dry season. The pond is surrounded by the typical fencing of thorny twigs and branches, which truely shows its efficiency if only one tries to open it. When needed, a pump drives the water to the concrete trough.

“This is what we need too,” explains Nambeya Nyange, referring to her group’s plans. Tupendane group was founded in April 2019. “We were inspired by what happened in our neighbourhood,” Nambeya Nyange goes on. Asked about the progress, they have made during the first six months, the Tupendane women pick out two improvements. They never had as much milk before during this time of year. And they say that they engage more actively in trade. Through their saving and lending groups, FPC beneficiaries mutually grant loans that must be invested in business. “The men”, describes Theresia Makoretu, “use the credits to buy goats in the neighbourhood and to sell them with profit on the market. The women, on their part, buy wholesale products like soap in town and sell it retail to the villagers.”

young goat of improved breed
Peer-to-peer facilitator, Pendo Ndemo, is struggling with a young cross-breed goat for the photo shooting.
Managed Pasture

Pendo Ndemo, who coaches the Tupendane members through her experience and her skills she picked up in the specialized training for trainers, leads the group to the tuition pasture. The untrained eye could barely make out this area except for the prickly branch fencing and the lower density of trees. Here, Johnson Mwakyusa, SAT facilitator, chips in. He suggests how the group should deal with this grassland that has not thriven as expected because of little rainfalls. “Let the cows in to graze here. This will fertilize the pasture and later encourage the nutritious grass species we sowed to grow faster. They prefer clear spaces.”

Leaving the women in Mingo village, Johnson manoeuvres the motorcycle along the winding paths tightly lined by the bare wood of this time of year. Farmers and pastoralists engage in protecting this fascinating maze. They practice agroforestry, which includes reforestation, and they learn how to produce sustainable cooking fuel. Looking back, the houses in Mingo fade in the web of twigs and branches. Soon, one believes to be miles away from settlements. And indeed, without a vehicle, this place is very remote.

Nameloki, Tupendane and all the other 49 groups of FPC with their 1660 members stay connected with each other and with SAT through a messenger platform on their mobile phones. And before long we got back to Morogoro, there flies in a video showing how Pendo Ndemo instructs the Tupendane group in compost making.

The FPC project is kindly supported by Biovision Foundation for Ecological Development, and LED Liechtenstein Development Service.

South-South Cooperation – Green Flower Foundation and SAT

In March 2019 the SAT Farmer Training Center received three guests from Ethiopia. Mr. Ali is part of the Green Flower Foundation, an organization that supports young people in Ethiopia. They have a project that Ali is currently developing in Bishoftu Polytechnic College. Bishoftu is a city just some kilometer away from Addis Ababa. At that college he is creating and implementing a curriculum for organic horticulture. The students will be trained form Level I to IV with theoretical and practical input on a small plot at the college. Two of the teachers, Hailu and Dereje, joined Ali to travel to Tanzania to prepare for this program.

SAT offered those three guests a two weeks special training in organic production. Their individual schedule was of great variety to get input for the most crucial aspects of organic agriculture.

Amongst other things SAT facilitators trained them in organic horticulture, crop production, manure production, soil management, compost making, pest control, organic certification and creating a business plan. These courses were designed to help them develop their organization further in organic production. The theoretical parts were taught and discussed, followed by practical sessions in the field. Dereje is most proud of their double dug which the three of them were digging under the tropical sun, a climatic condition they were not used to.

One thing they were very impressed by was how well educated every single person working in the field at SAT is, that everyone knows exactly why and how they are doing their work in order to achieve good organic quality, said Mr. Ali.

They went to visit one of the pastoralist groups that supported by SAT in Mvomero. The challenges of the farmer-pastoralist conflict were discussed as well as how SAT has managed to improve the situation of land use struggles. In Ethiopia there are similar challenges between these groups and there is an urgent need for improvement as well.

The visitors were fascinated on what has been done already in trying to overcome the existing challenges. Even though their college is focusing on horticulture, they might implement trainings about livestock management in their project as well. All three were very happy that their expectations towards the training were more than fulfilled. They will implement the gained theoretical and practical knowledge in their organization and further its development.

Having similar goals and challenges SAT will have a partnership to promote sustainable agriculture in East Africa. The knowledge transfer can help to find solutions to challenges that communities in the whole region are dealing with. The fact that organic production is now being implemented in a curriculum at a school is a big success. This is a sign for the future towards the right direction in agriculture. This is the second partnership of SAT in Ethiopia. South-South Co-operations like those are crucial for sustainable development and can create innovations and benefits for organic farming in East Africa.

Spice Production in Kibwaya

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


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

Tailor-made Course on Agriculture & Entrepreneurship for Women

This course is appropriate for women interested in entrepreneurship. In these 5 days you will gain practical skills on various enterprises that you may undertake with potential for growth and funding. Bring your farm to a professional level or start with your own agriculture/beekeeping or poultry enterprise.

Gain knowledge about:

  • Introduction to Entrepreneurship
  • Tailor-made entrepreneurship
    *Soap Making
    *Milk Value addition
    *Energy Saving stove
    *Kitchen  gardening and Introduction to Organic Agriculture
  • Poultry keeping
  • Fruit value addition

Courses 2018:

10th Dec – 14th Dec 2018

Training fee: TZS 300,000/= per participant, the fee is inclusive of training, materials, accomodation and meals at the centre.
Facilitators: SAT facilitators
Venue: SAT Training Centre at Vianzi (approx. 20km from Morogoro city
Apply to: Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SAT), P.O.Box 6369, Morogoro,
+255 (0) 754 925560, +255 (0) 655 925560

Application Form: Use this link to download the application form

If you are interested in the schedule for the whole year 2018 use this link:
Download SAT trainings 2018

Tailor-made Course on Agriculture & Entrepreneurship for Youth

This training is intended to accommodate youth for a week long courses where they will get in a friendly atmosphere introduced to sustainable agricultural practices and entrepreneurship. Hereby SAT facilitators will interact on a horizontal level to empower the participants. Through this youth centred approach and with other activities like sports and games the participants will on one hand enjoy their stay at the SAT farm and on the other hand will gain useful knowledge to make something out of their lives.

This week will include:
• Organic Agriculture
• Establishment of Vegetable Gardens
• Poultry keepingIMG_1429 (Kopie)
• Introduction to Entrepreneurship
• Preparation of yogurt
• Batik making
• Soap making (Liquid & Bar)
• Food processing and value addition

03rd December – 07th December

Training Fee: TZS 300,000/= per participant, the fee is inclusive of training, materials, accommodation and meals at the centre.
Facilitators: SAT Facilitators
Venue: SAT Training Centre in Vianzi (approx. 20km from Morogoro city)
Apply to: Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SAT), P.O.Box 6369, Morogoro,
+255 (0) 768206020 +255 (0)714471661,

Application Form: Use this link to download the application form

If you interested in the schedule for the whole year 2018 use this link:
Download SAT trainings 2018


Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SAT)  is inviting undergraduate students from Sokoine University of Agriculture (only final years) to the 5th Workshop for Participatory Research Design (WPRD) which will be held on 1st December 2018 at the New Lecture Theatre MLT9 from 08:00am – 6.00pm. WPRD is part of the Farmer Centred 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 centre 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 2018/19 will be:

  1. Unreliable market for livestock and milk
  2. Pests and diseases:
    1. Livestock diseases
    2. Crop diseases
  3. Pasture management
  4. Soil ecology
  5. Seeds management

The WPRD will 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 2017/2018
  • 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 60 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. 10 selected students will receive research grants of TZS 1,100,000/= to conduct research in collaboration with farmers.

The deadline for receiving applications is 25th November 2018. All applications must be filled online.

SAT has taken me from darkness to light

Wema preparing food for her customers

Wema Abdallah is a primary school leaver from Kinole Primary School, Morogoro rural district, Morogoro. Upon finishing her primary school education in 1986, Wema could not continue with further studies. Her parents who supposed to support her further studies passed away.
Despite having primary school education, Wema did not look down on the idea to start selling local buns (maandazi) a business that took her through a downward spiral of loss after loss.

“I did not make any profit and sometimes I knew for sure I made loss. I never knew how to keep financial records and there was nothing to save. Despite all that, I still injected more meagre funds just to keep the business running,” she explains.

Wema further narrates that even though she did not make profit, she had never thought of starting another business. She could not identify opportunities, lacked required knowledge, skills, funds and equipment’s to mention a few.

“When I started my first business of making and selling local buns I did not have focus. As long as the business kept running and I had food, I thought it was normal. If it were not for SAT I would have never thought of trying any other business. SAT is the light for rural women,” she insists.

Her entrepreneurship journey changed the day SAT conducted introductory meeting in Kinole, where Wema was among the participants. “I will never forget that day, that was my turning point. After a comprehensive training, I knew I would be a big entrepreneur and farmer. Most of all, the trainings were relevant to our environment. SAT has awakened me. I now know my opportunities as a woman, I can now trade professionally,” she happily explains.

Wema (left) in her spice farm

Currently, Wema is a Chairperson of Juhudi women-based farmer group with 35 members. All Juhudi members underwent SAT trainings and are now actively engaged in entrepreneurship, agriculture, saving and lending activities.
Wema and other group members, like many women in her village, lacked skills on organic agriculture and entrepreneurship as well financial matters. To their surprise, SAT offered them with all the necessary knowledge and other facilitations.

Commenting on her development, Wema says, “Currently I sell cooked food. I have employed four people to assist me in this business. Recently I bought 1-acre spice farm. Also, I own 1 acre (already planted cassava) and 2-acres of pineapple.

She has turned her loss-making business into a profit-making business. She also engages in another business such as buying products from other farmers and sell them within the village and outside. According to her, this has dramatically boosted her income (by more than 100%).

Wema in her farm

I have three children. Two of them are grown up and have their own activities. But my last born is studying in a private boarding school,” she adds.

Wema insists, “We were very lucky to be enrolled in the SAT trainings. Women and men in my village that have not joined SAT trainings are very happy for us. They are motivated for what we are doing. I have encouraged them to start their own groups. Currently there are five new farmer groups in my village: Tuungane (35 members), Nigandole (35), Nguvu moja (21), Vijana Tuamke (43) and Tupendane (27).”

Wema has also commended the impact of SAT to women and men in her village and recommends that SAT should reach out to more rural people throughout the country.