Organic Agriculture and Participatory Guarantee System

An elaborative documentary about a Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) developed and applied by Uluguru Mountain farmers.

PARTICPATORY GUARANTEE SYSTEMS: THE CASE OF THE MAENDELO FARMER GROUP

Facilitation on organic agriculture completely changed these farmers’ lifes and nowadays, with the PGS, they are able to market their vegetables as certified products. This is an important step to change the food system in Tanzania, where usually almost all of the certified products are produced for export market. People are aware about health issues regarding unsafe use of pesticides and other synthetic inputs, which are very common in the country and regularly reported on local media. Hence, Tanzania has demand for organic vegetables, fruits and grains. Nevertheless, there is a lot to do. Customers have to be sensitized that such products are now available, and that they are safe to use. The PGS is the right solution for this country, where most of the farmers hold land with less than 2 hectars. A commonly used third party certification would not be affordable for such small scale farmers .

A SAT study has shown that people are even willing to pay slightly more for organic products. This is not necessary, since the products don’t significantly differ regarding their prices. Many times the prices are the same like for conventional products. For small scale farmers it pays off, since they can produce without expensive use of chemical inputs. Furthermore, a benefit is, that they can intensify their produtction systems in a sustainable way. This makes for instance shifting cultivation (slash & burn) not anymore a precondition for having a good harvest.

Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SAT) has developed a special module to encourage farmers to launch and use PGS to have better and more specific access with their products. At the moment three further farmer groups, who collaborate with SAT, are in the process of getting their PGS approved by Tanzania Organic Agriculture Movement (TOAM) which is in the country the responsible institution  for issuing a PGS certificate.

The documentary is produced by International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) in collaboration with SAT.

IFOAM Documentary

This year, the farmer group Maendeleo in Towelo, Morogoro received a lot of attention, even on international scale. This was because of the pioneer work this group has done so far. They are one of the first groups in East Africa who implemented successfully a Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) which is used to be certified under the East African Product Standards (EAOPS). This low budget certification enables even small scale farmers, who are not contracted by a company or linked to a big cooperative, to produce organic certified products. This actually revoluzionises the food situation in Tanzania, since now, farmers producing as well for the local market. How you can see in the documentary the farmers have already a big benefit from these farming practices since they reduce the costs for buying farming inputs since industrial fertilizers and chemical pesticides are not anymore needed. Hence the products have fair prices. Come and vist our SAT organic shop in Kilakala, Morogoro.

Watch the Documentary on You Tube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nkmk11IKwfI

Schedule for the SAT Farmer Training Centre

We are very glad to introduce to you our schedule for 2013 for the Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SAT) training center.

SAT trainings 2013

A series of courses will follow-up after the official opening on 14th September 2013. We are all very happy and glad for this important achievement in the history of SAT and organic and sustainable agriculture in Tanzania.

Please help us share the schedule and encourage your organizations, farmers, friends and families to apply and join in for the courses.

We are well prepared to offer this important service and we welcome you to pass by and visit us whenever you are in Morogoro.

This is just the beginning, we look forward to many more interesting and important courses.

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Farmer Training Centre under Construction

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Something great is happening in Morogoro, Tanzania! The organisation Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SAT) is constructing the first Organic Agriculture Farmer Training Centre (FTC) in a country with a total population of up to  45 million people. More than 70% of  Tanzanians are involved in agriculture, hence the SAT FTC will be definitely a hot spot for disseminating new progressive ways of farming.

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Two guesthouses at our FTC with a total capacity of 42 beds

The FTC will  have later 50 hectares land available for demonstrating sustainable farming practices. SAT is planning to train small scale farmers, NGOs and governmental extension workers. As well, after gaining for some years experiences, a one or two year diploma or certificate course will offer deeper understanding about farming practices, which will allow us to guarantee food as well for the second and third of our generations.

An agroforestry system of 5 hectares is already cultivated
An agroforestry system of 5 hectares is already cultivated

All in all SAT understands itself as a part of a global movement, a movement that is highly needed to change our global food system. At the moment big corporations make a lot of money with farming inputs like fertilizer and GMO seeds. Actually in the last 50 years more than 99% of the research funds were invested in conventional agriculture. If you read literature about productivity, the conventional approach is only 20% ahead, and only with perfect weather conditions. As soon as it comes to droughts and floods, which we are already suffering from, sustainable farming practices are more productive. Just unbelievable since they have received only 1% of the research cake.

The organic agriculture approach builds up on local knowledge and culture. Agriculture is multifunctional and has influnce on ecological, social and economical levels. That is something which big corporations do not address in their business plans, which makes the environment suffer and people dependent. It is quite clear that we cannot exploit our mother earth as long as we want. We have to start NOW to create a more sustainable living on our beloved planet.

A rainwater tank with 300.000l capacity
A rainwater tank with 300.000l capacity
Classrooms under construction
Classrooms under construction

for those who don't know these are peanuts growing on our farm

for those who don’t know these are peanuts growing on our farm

The administration blocks, one block will be used as a store in the first year

The administration blocks, one block will be used as a store in the first year

Thank you for your support!

Actually Feinkostkistl, a local food delivery service, is helping us with € 500,- and there are already other private people who are supporting us financially. Without you it would  not be possible. Furthermore we are happy to see that keas.at is interested to support us with further € 500,-

Some trees still ready for planting. Actually we planted this year already more than 800
Some trees still ready for planting. Actually we planted this year already more than 800

Our plan is to become a very productive and sustainable farm, our objective is to become 100% financially self sufficent. We are sure, you understand what we are talking about 🙂

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Generally we are happy that through the facebook action we have the opportunity to introduce ourselves. Hence we are writing this post to give you some information about what we are doing.

For more information you can visit www.kilimo.org , www.nlo.at , or www.weltagrarbericht.de

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Furthermore we want to mention that we received support from Pfadfinder und Pfadfinderinnen Österreich (PPÖ), Biovision Foundation (BV), Austrian Development Agency (ADA), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Entwicklungshilfe Klub (EhK), Rotary Club Liechtenstein-Eschenberg, Lions Club, and Land Vorarlberg.

All the buildings and the tank on these pictures will be in total constructed for less money compared with the costs for buying a standard three room appartment in Vienna. Cheers!!!

 

Tanzania Women of Achievement Award 2013

 

We are happy to announce that our Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SAT) Director Janet Maro was among the nominees of the Tanzania Women of Achievement Award 2013. Actually she was ranked as number 2 in the category of agriculture. Her eagerly work for SAT is acknowledged by many people since she spreads the idea of organic and sustainable agriculture among thousands of people.

The whole team from SAT is congratulating her for this achievement.

What made us as well happy is not only that our director was ranked as no. 2. Also it was cheering us up that Mama Shujaa won the trophy, who is actually a 70 year old organic farmer and teacher who spreads sustainable farming technologies already for several years in her community. Hence SAT congratulates as well Mama Shujaa for her big achievement.

In fact two strong and green women in the front of  agriculture as vibrant leaders paving the way for progressive and sustainable methods of farming which will  nourish as well our further generations. Thank you, we salute you!

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All the nominees at Serena Hotel in Dar es Salaam.

 

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Mama Shujaa together with our Director Janet Maro and her little daugther Anna.

 

IFOAM Report

The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) Report “IMPACTS ASSOCIATED WITH THE UPTAKE OF ORGANIC AGRICULTURE IN EAST AFRICA” is online available now.

Drawing on over 150 in-depth qualitative interviews with selected organic farmers in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, this series of articles presents highly convincing examples of the enormous development and progress Organic Agriculture can bring especially to resource poor farmers and their families.

From page 16 to 18 you can find the story “ORGANIC AGRICULTURE CONTRIBUTES TO IMPROVED LIVING CONDITIONS OF FARMERS OF THE MAENDELEO GROUP IN TANZANIA” which is actually about a farmer group which is facilitated by SAT.

Through the IFOAM OESA II project the Tanzania Organic Agriculture Movement (TOAM) supported SAT and the Maendeleo Group through the certification process of the East African Organic Product Standard (EAOPS) by using a Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) which is actually a cost efficent way of certification and hence suitable for small scale farmer groups.