With the aim to link organic certified farmers to markets and customers, in 2012 the first organic shop in Morogoro was opened by SAT. To ensure the supply of high quality organic products, SAT facilitated twelve farmer groups consisting of more than 300 farmers in the process of organic certification by the East African Organic Product Standard. The demand for organic products in Tanzania is evident, but the supply is inconsistent due to environmental difficulties such as droughts as well as constraints in productivity. To solve this problem, the answer is SAT’s innovative and participatory contract farming.
This approach is a form of microfinance that aims to facilitate the farmers productivity in order to enhance their resilience in combination with the development of a reliable market. How does this happen? Basically, SAT provides loans for investments that enhance productivity to the farmer groups. Together, the farmer groups develop a proposal where they identify their challenges and develop solutions to overcome them. Furthermore, the farmer groups decide on a minimum of four members who will receive the loan and determine how it will be invested. After one year, the loan will be paid back through the village saving and lending associations, also established by SAT, and thereafter reinvested. Moreover, the contract contains an agreement between the farmer groups and SAT regarding the quantity and quality of the production aiming to merge supply and demand. The overall goal of SAT’s contract farming is to establish a responsible and reliable relationship between farmers and consumers which will generate a stable source of income for farmers in a sustainable and self-supporting way.
A committee consisting of four farmers, two consumers and two SAT employees, is organized to deliberate challenges on a participative basis. Ananias Joseph, the current elected chairman of the committee, is honored to be chairman because this demonstrates the trust of the farmer groups in his care. Furthermore, this position claims a sense of responsibility. According to Ananias Joseph, the approach of contract farming will improve the livelihood of the famers by creating a sustainable system. This system helps to ensure a stable and increasing income for farmers through innovation combined with access to the market.