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.

Time for change: SAT gets a new logo

About ten years ago Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania was born through the initiative of a few university students. Since then SAT has changed a lot.
Today around 80 employees contribute to the successful work of the organization. Together with small-scale farmers and other stakeholders in the agricultural field we promote agroecological practices which allow farmers and pastoralists to live a decent life and reduce the pressure on natural resources and ultimately mitigate climate change. Having grown in the number of areas we are working in and having developed as an organization we think it is now also time to change our visual appearance. For this reason, we designed a new logo.

However, our growth and success would not have been possible without the support of many. This is why we would also like to say thank you to you today for accompanying and supporting us on our way. Asanteni sana!

New SAT Logo 2020

Dear partners and donors, you can download the new logo here.

CISTI presentations during 2020 joint meeting of the Agriculture Training Institutes

This year, the annual joint meeting of the 29 Agriculture Training Institutes (ATIs), both private and public, took place in Morogoro from 29th to 30th of June. For Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SAT) this meeting also meant an important next step for the Curriculum Implementation Support for Training Institutes (CISTI) project, as presentations about the project’s progress were made to the Permanent Secretary (PS) of the Ministry of Agriculture and all ATI Principles. Through the CISTI project SAT supported the coordination and planning of the meeting.

Group picture of the Joint Meeting of Agricultural Training Institutes

On June 29th, the meeting was an internal one between the PS and all Principles of the 14 Ministry of Agriculture Training Institutes (MATIs). Presentations and discussions took place on the matter of the current status of the curriculum implementation, successes and how challenges can be tackled, but also on how MATIs can become financially independent in the future.

On June 30th, the actual joint meeting of MATIs and PATIs (15 Private Agriculture Training Institutes) took place. This meeting focused on the direction of CISTI and on a sustainable review and implementation of the curricula. For the first time, the new Permanent Secretary from the Ministry of Agriculture (since March 2020), Gerald Musabila Kusaya, has attended and chaired the meeting. At the high table the following people took their seats:

  • Dr. Wilhelm Mafuru (Director of Training, Extension Services and Research Division, DTER)
  • Janet Maro (SAT, CEO Programme)
  • Hilda T. Kinanga (Director of Administration for Human Ressources Management, DAHRM)
  • Moses Kabogo (Lutheran World Relief, Senior Country Program Manager, Tanzania)
  • Mahija Waziri (National Council for Technical Education, NACTE)

Presentations about the CISTI project progress

For our CISTI project, this meeting was an important meeting, as the project has entered its second phase. After a successful year 2019, where it was in a pilot phase, the project is now fully ongoing for the next three years (2020-2022). It aims to support 29 Agricultural Training Institutes, both public and private, to successfully implement and integrate organic farming, gender in agriculture, environmental management, cooperatives in agriculture and communication skills in the new training curriculum for agriculture production on certificate and diploma levels.

During the meeting, our Project Manager Mgeta Daud presented about the expectations and the roles of ATIs. Afterwards, Kashindye Salum, the Assistant Project Manager, presented the preliminary report on the labour market needs survey to inform the review of six curricula which are: a) crop production, b) horticulture, c) irrigation, d) land use planning, e) food production and nutrition, and f) agro-mechanisation. This report was based on a survey SAT carried out among employers, graduates, farmers and professionals which involved personal visits and online questionnaires. Godfrey Edward, the Curriculum Officer at the Ministry of Agriculture, presented twice: first, about the sustainable strategy for reviewing curricula used by ATIs; and second, about the proposal by the Minister of Agriculture of introducing a one-year internship for the students to gain practical experience. Afterwards, a fruitful discussion on these topics took place.

 

2020 Update for CISTI project

As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, new ICT equipment is being purchased in preperation to implement the Distance E-Learning Training. One set of equipment for every ATI, one set for the SAT HQ and one for the Ministry. This offers plenty of new opportunities, as it allows for some of the trainings to take place online. In the future, this will save resources, both in time and money, as people do not have to travel far distances from all ATIs spread across all Tanzania. At the moment, compendiums and manuals are being developed for new modules: Principles of Co-operatives in Agriculture for National Technical Award level 5 and Basic Communication Skills for National Technical Award level 4.

CISTI is kindly supported by LED Liechtenstein Development Service (funding) and the United Republic of Tanzania, Ministry of Agriculture (coordination).


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.