The Certified Way to Organic Agriculture

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.

Fair Carbon 4 Us

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

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: 7TH WORKSHOP FOR PARTICIPATORY RESEARCH DESIGN (WPRD) 2020 – 2021

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:

  1. Pests and diseases:
    1. Livestock diseases
      • Cattle foot and mouth disease
      • Cattle Listeriosis
    2. Crop diseases
      • Concentration of biopesticides (neem powder) on controlling FAW
      • Cinnamon leave wilting disease
      • Development of yellowish color on turmeric leaves
  2. Pasture management
    1. Pastoralists want to know practices towards improving dry forage productivity
  3. Soil ecology
    1. Improvement of soil fertility as a potential control measure for spikes shedding and stem wilting of pepper
  4. Post-harvest management
    1. Post-harvesting of maize
    2. 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’s Top 4 Technologies on offer at Nane Nane

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.

1.

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.

2.

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.

3.

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.

4.

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.

Health is Wealth: SAT’s mission at Nane Nane

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.

Participatory Research Design: Bringing farmers and young scientists together

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.

Farmer speaking at Workshop for Participatory Research Design
Shakaile Kolea, a pastoralist from Mkajuni village, speaks about challenges at the Workshop for Participatory Research Design.

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.

Maize (improved seeds variety) severly affected by fall army worms
Improved seeds variety affected by fall army worm
Maize (farmer managed seeds) not affected by fall army worms
Farmer managed seeds

Everything about pest management using organic methods you can also learn at the SAT Farmer Training Center. The courses of 2020 are online now.

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.

Logo of Liechtenstein Development Service