United In Our Mission: SAT & The Government

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.

A warm welcome: The Permanent Secretary greets our staff

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.

Fruits of our labor: Our CEO’s show the Permanent Secretary our new buildings.

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!

Story-time: Our Operations CEO Alex shares with the attendees SAT’s history and our future plans.

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.

A new beginning: The Permanent Secretary flanked by our CEO’s admires the foundation stone he just unveiled.

Digitization & Farming: How SAT is changing livelihoods

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.

A farmer making use of her phone to access key market information.

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.

A snapshot from the Machosauti application

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.

SAT: Impacting the Organic Movement Worldwide

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.

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
    *Beekeeping
    *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 info@kilimo.org

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