Training farmers in organic agriculture is great, but building up awareness about organic food and creating new markets has as well importance.(Alexander Wostry, SAT)
A new step for SAT
Tuesday is a busy day in the SAT Organic Shop. Small-scale farmers drop off fresh vegetables and fruits which have been pre-ordered a few days before. However, this time the products will not stay in Morogoro, their final destination is still a few hours away. After being carefully sorted as well as washed, the fruits and vegetables are packed into big cartoon boxes using as much as possible organic packaging material such as dry gras and banana leaves. In an average week the shop staff packs six big boxes with over 25 different fruits and vegetables (bananas, oranges, pawpaws, avocados, tomatoes, onions, fresh ginger, carrots, amaranths…) worth a total value of around TSH 500.000. Once every product on the order list is ticked off, the boxes are brought to the Morogoro bus station to be sent to Dar es Salaam. At the moment there are all in all three deliveries per week and even more often, if the demand is higher.
This is a new step for us as an organization, but also for our organic small-scale farmers. You can now get SAT’s organic, healthy and fresh products in Dar es Salaam without even ever leaving your house. We have partnered with I Am Organic which is currently located within Wild Flour Café and Bakery. I Am Organic offers a weekly fruits basket service, whereby they deliver a standard or family size basket full of our fresh organic fruits to your doorstep every Wednesday. You can sign up for the weekly service via the Wild Flour App or if you prefer you can simply walk into the café and pick out your fruits – they are located on Chole Road at the Slipway junction in Masaki. They also sell our organic vegetables and other products, so make sure you visit them.
How to scale organic agriculture
The foundation stone for where we are today – that we can now sell our organic products even in Dar es Salaam – was laid already a few years ago. We were looking into possibilities to connect our organic small-scale farmers to the local and national market, where organic products could be sold for a premium price while never losing its traceability: Consumers should know where the products they buy come from. We started with a small SAT Organic Shop here in Morogoro in 2012. Scaling up and improving this market link was always on the agenda since then. Further important steps were taken within the Farmers and Pastoralists Collaboration project in 2017, when we strengthened the whole vegetable value chain with the kind support of Biovision Foundation for Ecological Development and LED Liechtenstein Development Service. The next step in the future would be another organic shop in Dodoma to meet the fast-growing demand of organic producers and consumers.
However, the idea is bigger than “just” creating a linkage to the market for our farmers. By selling organic products we also want to raise awareness and sensitize customers for agroecological farming and sustainable agriculture – and this cooperation now allows us to do exactly that by selling the products of our farmers in Dar with I AM ORGANIC, which is a project by Coral Tree Ltd. in collaboration with Wild Flour, TOAM, SAT and SWISSAID TZ. The latter provides the financial support. This technically well-equipped consortium shows that cooperation and cocreation are promising approaches to scale organic agriculture in Tanzania.
We want to offer and promote wholesome food products that have minimal environmental impact, are authentic and traceable, that use the best of traditional know how, are healthy, simple, innovative and artisan. We believe that through this partnership with Swissaid, SAT and TAOM, we can achieve that.(Johanna Omere, I AM Organic)