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.

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.

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.

Cardamom Training: How Capacity Building can Ensure the Organic Production of Spices

Currently, the demand for cardamom on the market is very high. Therefore, Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SAT) offered an agroecological training on the spice. This capacity building session in the field took place to show how the plant can be intercropped in an agroforestry system so that the slopes of the Uluguru Mountains remain or become again protected from erosion.

Mkuyuni, a small village in the Ruvu river area of the Uluguru Mountains, is not easy to reach. The drive from the SAT headquarter in Morogoro up in the mountains was already hampered due to the rain season and muddy roads. After the car was parked, another 20-minute walk was needed to reach the remote demonstration plot. This provides a brief yet important glimpse on the obstacles, such as difficult market access and poor infrastructure, small-scale farmers have to face in addition to the harsh working conditions in the mountains.

Dr. Mgembe explains how to grow and harvest cardamom

No matter if the sun was shining or rain was falling, farmers of Mkuyuni and the surrounding areas were very keen on learning about the production of cardamom. As part of the Uluguru Spice Project, this capacity building training was attended by 87 farmers from 10 different farmers groups. Two government extension officers were also present to ensure that knowledge and expertise on the highly demanded spice remains beyond the duration of the project. All attended farmers are from SAT trained peer-to-peer trainers who combined will share the knowledge with a total network of 1500 farmers over the next three years. In addition to that, we also provide further possibilities to gain knowledge on spices at our Organic Spice Production Course.

Read more about farmers who have changed their minds on organic agriculture

As the cardamom plant is rather new here as a potential cash crop, SAT invited Dr. Elias Mgembe from the Sokoine University of Agriculture as an external trainer to provide the needed expertise on how to grow, foster and harvest the spice. Only a few farmers have already cardamom plants on their fields, for many of them it is still a very new plant. However, a very promising one: The demand is very high and the supply not sufficient. Thus, farmers can get a very high profit from selling cardamom, and from the other way around the soil is protected through this intercropped perennial plant.

Dr. Mgembe explains the cardamom plant
Dr. Mgembe explains the cardamom plant

The cardamom plant: similar to turmeric and ginger and yet different

The training was held on a demonstration plot so that Dr. Mgembe could provide very practical, hands-on explanations. Actually, for an untrained eye it is not that easy to detect the inflorescence. It is quite a big plant, which belongs to the same family as turmeric and ginger, with actual capsules growing on a small part above the ground. In addition, there are three different types of cardamom plants with different needs and aspects to consider. Generally, a few characteristics can be noted, which the plant needs or has:

  • High humidity
  • Shade (50-60%), thus intercropping is helpful and it is suited for agroforestry
  • Short roots, thus a highly nutritious top soil layer is needed
  • Seedlings for propagation of plant (danger of transferring diseases too)
  • Bees for pollination

Capacity building: Handpicking ensures the best quality

Often, farmers harvest too early because they need the income from selling the spice, leading to a loss of quality. The cardamom plant needs to be harvested not only manually, but the almost ripe capsules need to be handpicked just before maturity. Thus, the spice needs a lot of work and attention. Yet, the process continues beyond harvesting as the right storage and drying process also plays an important role for the quality of the final product.

Cardamom is only the latest addition to the trainings which are part of the USP project to increase capacity building on the spices. By doing so, SAT provides the small-scale farmers with a strengthened value chain. It focusses on direct processing at the farm and product development and market access via SAT facilities. SAT pays the farmers a premium price (at least 10% more), which is mutually agreed on with the producers themselves and leads to a more secure income.

Community building and knowledge exchange as part of the USP project

Back to the training: The many questions the farmers had for Dr. Mgembe were a clear sign that there is a need and interest on the cultivation of cardamom. Furthermore, during lunch the different farmer groups could connect and share experiences on agroecological methods, another important aspect in the work of SAT. To foster community exchange and participation of farmers is an essential objective of SAT’s vision to grow sustainable agriculture in Tanzania.

Learn more about SAT’s work and vision

This project is kindly funded by Austrian Development Agency and Land Vorarlberg. If you also want to support SAT’s vision of sustainable agriculture in Tanzania you can donate here.

ADA Logo

COVID-19: “We are part of the food system”

Alexander Wostry was interviewed by Biovision (Foundation for Ecological Development) early April about the current situation in Tanzania: Which preliminary measures have been introduced to prepare for the global SARS-CoV-2 (better known as COVID-19) pandemic.

“We are part of the food system. We cannot just stop working now.”

The work of SAT continues in times of COVID-19

In the interview, Alexander Wostry talks about the importance of Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania during such a crisis: SAT is part of the food system and thus has to continue working. Furthermore, he explains the measures taken by SAT such as awareness raising on which hygiene measures are important considering COVID-19. This is particularly important at all SAT facilities, including the SAT Organic Shop, where renovations took place and hygiene measures were taken.

Read the full interview with Biovision here

Hand washing facilities and awareness raising at our SAT Shop in Morogoro

TipTap handwashing system

Furthermore, SAT introduced at its Farming Training Centre and in the villages where SAT is working with small-scale farmers a handwashing system called TipTap. In the Video below you can see how it works without the need to touch anything with the hands.

The COVID-19 pandemic in Tanzania

Current information on the pandemic in Tanzania can be found at the WHO website. The work of SAT continues, even tough with a few limiations. We would like to thank Biovision for the interview, which you can listen to here:


You can support the work of SAT and it’s vision of establishing sustainable and organic agriculture in Tanzania during this crisis by donating here.

How Pastoralists Spread Their Agroecological Skills

“This is my bike”, says Pendo Ndemo pointing at a bicycle that peers between a group of Masai women. They have gathered in the shade of a veranda. Outside, the light is dazzling. Now and then, a hot and dry breath of wind tells how harsh it would be without the roof. “I use the bike to visit the members of Tupendane group”, Pendo continues. She is a Pastoralist to Pastoralist Facilitator, and therefore one of the crucial persons in multiplying the skills she acquired before.

Tupendane pastoralist group gathering in a veranda's shade

Pendo’s group, Nameloki (‘Good Luck’), started their training with SAT in 2017. “Since then, we made a lot of progress. We have 30 crossbreed goats and three cows that are offspring of our traditional sort and a beautiful Mpwapwa bull.” These animals are more heavily built than the Masai’s customary livestock but well adapted to the environment. “Of course, these cattle eat a bit more. But thanks to our stock of hay, this is no problem anymore.”

What Pendo refers to here, is part of a fundamental change of habits. Traditionally, Masai would roam the savanna with their herds to search for grazeland and waterholes. Especially during the dry season, this involves wandering long distances. Through the Farmers and Pastoralists Collaboration (FPC) project, they learnt how to cultivate their pastures with nutritious grasses, and to bale hay for the following period. “Of course, we had our ways to relieve this problem a bit”, Pendo explains. “We fenced off suitable areas so that the fodder grasses would remain for tough times. Then, we would let our cows in for grazing. But these areas usually didn’t last for long.”

In addition to that transformation, FPC also encourages pastoralists to grow crops. This raises their awareness of how it is like when cows invade a crop field. It is a goal of this project to reduce conflicts between farmers and pastoralists. First impressions imply that it works well, evaluation is underway. There is no doubt, though, that the Masai remarkably improved their variety of food through farming.

Eventually, however, water is the source of life. That is why SAT supported the pastoralists with digging a reservoir big enough to quench the thirst of their cattle. Nameloki’s watering-place lies amidst the labyrinth of bald trunks and mostly naked branches in all shades of brown, yellow and ochre, characteristic for the dry season. The pond is surrounded by the typical fencing of thorny twigs and branches, which truely shows its efficiency if only one tries to open it. When needed, a pump drives the water to the concrete trough.

“This is what we need too,” explains Nambeya Nyange, referring to her group’s plans. Tupendane group was founded in April 2019. “We were inspired by what happened in our neighbourhood,” Nambeya Nyange goes on. Asked about the progress, they have made during the first six months, the Tupendane women pick out two improvements. They never had as much milk before during this time of year. And they say that they engage more actively in trade. Through their saving and lending groups, FPC beneficiaries mutually grant loans that must be invested in business. “The men”, describes Theresia Makoretu, “use the credits to buy goats in the neighbourhood and to sell them with profit on the market. The women, on their part, buy wholesale products like soap in town and sell it retail to the villagers.”

young goat of improved breed
Peer-to-peer facilitator, Pendo Ndemo, is struggling with a young cross-breed goat for the photo shooting.
Managed Pasture

Pendo Ndemo, who coaches the Tupendane members through her experience and her skills she picked up in the specialized training for trainers, leads the group to the tuition pasture. The untrained eye could barely make out this area except for the prickly branch fencing and the lower density of trees. Here, Johnson Mwakyusa, SAT facilitator, chips in. He suggests how the group should deal with this grassland that has not thriven as expected because of little rainfalls. “Let the cows in to graze here. This will fertilize the pasture and later encourage the nutritious grass species we sowed to grow faster. They prefer clear spaces.”

Leaving the women in Mingo village, Johnson manoeuvres the motorcycle along the winding paths tightly lined by the bare wood of this time of year. Farmers and pastoralists engage in protecting this fascinating maze. They practice agroforestry, which includes reforestation, and they learn how to produce sustainable cooking fuel. Looking back, the houses in Mingo fade in the web of twigs and branches. Soon, one believes to be miles away from settlements. And indeed, without a vehicle, this place is very remote.

Nameloki, Tupendane and all the other 49 groups of FPC with their 1660 members stay connected with each other and with SAT through a messenger platform on their mobile phones. And before long we got back to Morogoro, there flies in a video showing how Pendo Ndemo instructs the Tupendane group in compost making.

The FPC project is kindly supported by Biovision Foundation for Ecological Development, and LED Liechtenstein Development Service.