Last year we took the initiative to register SAT Holistic Group Ltd. The social business will be soon co-owned by small-scale farmers and is affiliated with our organization. The business provides for our farmer’s lucrative markets and boosts as well the organic uptake in the local market. Learn more how SAT Holistic Group Ltd will bring change to the country by visiting the brand-new homepage
Spices are a common ingredient in many dishes across our continent and we love them due to the rich flavor, color, and taste. As it is known, spices are also a lucrative cash crops making the spice business.
But what about small-scale farmers, are they able to produce high-quality spice products, increase their productivity, and access a premium market for their produces?
The Uluguru Spice Project was initiated for farmers living in the Ruvu River catchment area along the Uluguru Mountains in Tanzania by facilitating knowledge of sustainable cultivation methods as well as marketing strategies with the main focus on spice production and trade. The project goal is Small-scale farmers, organised in a cooperative, are practicing organic agriculture, protecting through this the sensitive catchment area and benefiting from price premiums and value addition which changes their livelihoods in a positive and sustainable way.
As a result, over 1500 farmers from the Uluguru Mountains, 172 model farmers from other regions, and 31 governmental agricultural extension officers have benefited directly from the Uluguru Spice Project.
USP Farmer success story: Meet Mr. Ramadhani Sanda
One of the farmers who have benefited from the project is Mr. Ramadhani Sanda, a small-scale producer. In 2016 Ramadhani and his fellow farmers joined the USP Project through Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SAT) with the expectation to make a proper living out of farming with the hope to increase productivity and quality of his crops.
Mr. Ramadhani told us that before joining the USP Project he was able to harvest 5 kg of cardamon, 35 kg of cinnamon and 70 kg of black pepper. After improving his cultivation practices, he is now able cultivate on the same land 10 kg of cardamon, 70 kg of cinnamon and 200 kg of black pepper. The reason he mentioned was lack of knowledge in cultivation but as well of not having the motivation to fully utilize his land due to missing market opportunities.
With introducing spice production as farming as a business, Ramadhani has increased his productivity to a higher level and used the returns wisely to reinvest in his business. Last year he added to his 2.5 acre another farm with 1.3 acres where he now practices mixed cropping, integrated in an agroforestry system with cultivating cardamom, cinnamon, pepper and now even vanilla. As soon he will start harvesting the crops it will be another boost of his income. Next to vanilla he also perceives cardamom production as a new lucrative field which is promising a good market. Farming as a business pays off he witnesses with explaining that next to buying land he constructed as well a new house for his family which he proudly equipped with a solar panel (100W) for electricity supply.
What Technologies did he use to increase his yield productivity?
Knowledge is key to succeed in agriculture. During the project Ramadhani has learned agroecological technologies. To increase his productivity Ramadhani manages the soil fertility through composting and manure application. He uses selected planting material, practices proper spacing of seedlings and manages diseases and pests with botanical plant extracts.
Ramadhani says “Organic way of farming is the future! Many of my friends and I have adopted to agroecological of farming as it has helped us to produce quality products in good quantities and also to protect the environment.” He is proud that his success in agriculture has inspired 5 farmers in his village to start with organic farming.
Now, with producing the wished quality and soon the quantity the farmer even hopes to further gain from practicing organic agriculture. In December 2020 Ramadhani has become a founder member of the farmer cooperative CHAUWAVIMU where he acts as marketing committee member on zonal level. He expects that through this step they will find better prices through joint marketing efforts. He furthermore knows that being organised in a cooperative will allow them to become organic certified for the export market. Currently Ramadhani and his fellow farmers are preparing for external inspection which will take place in June.
The USP Project is kindly supported by Austrian Development Agency, Land Voralberg, and Fester Foundation.
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:
- Organic farming.
- Standards on Organic Farming (EAOPS) and Compliance.
- Participatory guarantee system (Peer to Peer Assessment) and how it works utilizing established committees within the groups.
- Collective marketing.
- 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:
- Livestock diseases
- Cattle foot and mouth disease
- Cattle Listeriosis
- Crop diseases
- Concentration of biopesticides (neem powder) on controlling FAW
- Cinnamon leave wilting disease
- Development of yellowish color on turmeric leaves
- Livestock diseases
- Pasture management
- Pastoralists want to know practices towards improving dry forage productivity
- Soil ecology
- Improvement of soil fertility as a potential control measure for spikes shedding and stem wilting of pepper
- Post-harvest management
- 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
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.
Staying healthy in mind and body is a result of many things. The amount of exercise we do, the genes that have been passed on in our family, frequent medical check-ups and perhaps most importantly what we put in our body. Not only regarding the foods we eat, but also regarding how those foods are made and processed. “Staying healthy is the beginning of everything”, insists Adrian Barnabas, one of SATs facilitators as he stands infront of the very green, very busy and 100% organic showcase, Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SAT) has prepared for the annual Nane Nane event.
It is the fifth day of Nane Nane and there is, as always, a steady flow of visitors to the Sustainable Agriculture showcase. Nane Nane is an annual celebration that recognizes the contribution of farmers to the Tanzanian economy. It runs for 8 days, with agricultural exhibitions running in different regions across the country, it all culminates with a national holiday, on the 8th of August. The agricultural sector provides a living to around 80% of Tanzania’s workforce, while accounting for 26.7% of the country’s GDP. A part of this agricultural economy is courtesy of SAT, which is one of the first organic movements in East Africa.
Adrian Barnabas and the rest of the SAT workforce has been preparing the SAT field for the exhibition since late June up until the end of July. Their mission? Spreading awareness around organic agriculture both to farmers as well as to their customers. Adrian is a proud ambassador of agroecological farming methods and their benefits, “We want people to be drawn to our work and spread it across Tanzania and then other countries”, he mentions.
SAT has a variety of different technologies and farming techniques on display at the Nane Nane grounds. These range from techniques making use of demonstration gardens, animals and even stoves. For this year’s exhibition we have introduced the “Jokofu La Asili”, the only technology of its kind available at Nane Nane. The “Jokofu La Asili” acts as a cold room of sorts, using materials easily available to farmers and locals such as burned bricks and sacks to create an eco-friendly “fridge”, which farmers can use to store their produce so that it stays fresh long after harvest.
SAT’s demonstration garden at the Nane Nane grounds country wide welcomed 1020 visitors in Dodoma and 2448 visitors in Morogoro. Professor Mgula from Sokoine University of Agriculture was one of the many visitors in Morogoro, impressed with the work SAT is doing he stressed the need for more farmers to be educated on the importance of Organic Agriculture.
“Many of our farmers are not knowledgeable about the topic and they are not aware of the effects of using pesticide, they just want to kill insects, not thinking about the effects to their customers or even themselves in the long run,” Professor Mgula said.
SAT is a proud member of the Agricultural sector and a proud pioneer of the organic movement in the country. With every person educated on the benefits of organic farming, we believe we can make Tanzania and the world a better place.
You can learn about our farming practices by registering for our Farming Training Courses. Click here for further details.
A lecture hall at Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) full of young scientists developing ideas for their Bachelor and Master thesis. So far it would be nothing special if it weren´t for a few rather unusual guests: farmers and pastoralists of the Morogoro region. Each year the Workshop for Participatory Research Design connects farmers or pastoralists with young researchers and thus initiates a new cycle of the Farmer Centred Research Programme (FCRP), which emerged a few years ago from the close collaboration of SAT and SUA. Farmers and pastoralists present their current challenges and offer their local knowledge. From there students use their research skills to find solutions for their challenges together with the farmers.
The problem of the fall army worms
Martha Makumba, a young woman, is one among eleven bachelor students from SUA who received a grant through the FCRP in 2018/2019 to conduct her research. After farmers expressed their problem of fall army worms being a big obstacle to their productivity in the 5th Workshop for Participatory Research Design, she decided to look further into that issue. Her research had the overall goal to assess the resistance of local maize seed varieties to the invasion of fall army worms and the use of environmentally friendly pesticides as control mechanisms. During the following weeks she observed that the improved seed variety called “Tumbili” performed better compared to farmer managed seeds and that neem powder worked better as an organic pesticide than moringa. Although Martha Makumba recommended to use improved seed varieties one farmer decided to extend the research.
Farmers contribute to research findings
Mwombeck Cleophace is a member of the Tushikamane group in Kimambila village which was formed in 2017 in the course of the Farmers and Pastoralists Collaboration Project. He is also one of the Farmer to Farmer facilitators who pass on their knowledge to other farmers. Mwombeck Cleophace decided to extend the research in his village by visiting ten farms with improved seeds and ten farms with farmer managed seeds. Contrarily to Martha Makumba, he observed that improved seeds were much more affected by fall army worms compared to farmer managed seeds.
And the research goes on…
To us, we can draw two conclusions from this: First, it shows us how engaged and motivated our farmers are beyond our project activities. They can see that this research helps them to create a sustainable and well working agricultural system at their farms. Secondly, it also shows that different research analysis can provide different results. Another sign that we need to invest more time into long-term research to better understand the specifics of the seeds and their resilience towards the fall army worm.
The Farmer Centred Research Programme in collaboration with the Sokoine University of Agriculture is kindly supported by Liechtenstein Development Service. Numerous other organisations finance the grants for the students.