Last Saturday 02/09/2017 Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SAT) officially launched two projects namely Farmer Pastoralist Collaboration (FPC) aiming at promoting a good relationship between farmers and pastoralists through agro-ecological agriculture and Uluguru Spice project (USP) which aims at facilitation farmers on organic spice production and also linking them to reliable markets through quality produce.
A total of 160 guests attended the event including, Farmer groups representatives, SAT board Members, Local Government Officials, Member from Tanzania Organic Agriculture Movement (TOAM,) Nachhaltige Landwirtschaft Ostafrika (NLO) representative, Extension officers, SAT Staffs, Lubungo Ward Chancellor and Regional Agricultural Officer as Guest of Honour together with TBC 1 Media.
The event started at 11:00am after all invited guests enjoyed a healthy and organic breakfast. Mr. Rashidi Malya, (MC) welcomed all guests and later all members rose to receive the guest of honour accompanied by other government officials and Prof. Kilasara (Chairman of SAT board). CEO Programme (Janet Maro) welcomed all guests and also gave a brief introduction of all invited guests. Prof. Kilasara took a lead and gave opening remarks. Afterwards Mrs. Maro gave a brief history about SAT, where we came from, what we have achieved so far and what are the future plans. She also gave an introduction about FTC and the services provided at the farm and how we are planning to keep on the good relation we have with the neighbour farmers and pastoralists. Together with the achievements the CEO Programme also explained the challenges that we are currently facing including a permanent water source at the farm, poor roads especially during the rainy season and with the electricity that is highly needed for the Machinery ring.
CEO Operations (Alexander Wostry) reminded the guests that we started in 2009 with a very small budget, visiting first villages on feet, what caused at that time laughter from the farmers, who took us simply not serious. What was convincing was our face to face approach. Those farmers who collaborated with us are nowadays among the most famous organic vegetable farmers in the country. Our strategies of working horizontally with farmers are strongly reflected within the new projects. Both have a strong marketing components which was the wish of farmers, who were actively participating in the project design.
Mr. Mashauri Magesa (Assistant Marketing Officer TOAM) and Sengwile Magige (Communication Officer TOAM), spoke on behalf of the organisation and praised the efforts made by SAT in providing organic agriculture training to farmers in rural area and also making sure that farmers are able to find markets for their produce.
Mr. Hamidu Zuberi (Lubungo Ward Chancellor) spoke on behalf of the government officials and addressed the challenges mentioned by Janet Maro. He made it clear that the FPC activities are in line with the endeavours of the Government, bringing development to the ward. The government plans on building a permanent water sources for both farmers and pastoralists. He mentioned the new road Agency, Tanzania Rural Road Agency (TARURA) that will be building roads in Morogoro Rural, having the plan as well to renovate the road to Vianzi by 2018/2019.
Florian Wostry from Nachhaltige Landwirtschaft Ostafrika (NLO) mentioned that they have been working with SAT since its establishment and they are impressed to see how far it has grown. Currently they are supporting SAT in various activities and they will also explore chances to support other projects in the future. He also mentioned that in Austria about 20% of the agricultural land is being cultivated organically and he believes that the same can be done here in Tanzania.
Mr. Joel Paul gave a brief presentation about the project by elaborating clearly all plans, targeted population, activities and future expectations of the project and benefits to farmers engaged to this project. The project goal: Small scale farmers benefit from organic spice farming, processing and marketing which reduces poverty, increases farm productivity, increases climate resilience and reduces the pressure on the environment.
Ms. Prisca Kimaro gave a brief presentation about FPC project by elaborating the goal to enhance sustainable livelihoods of farmers and pastoralists through agroecological practices in Tanzania, project beneficiaries and activities that will be associated with the project.
The guest of honour, Mr. Peter Gamma appreciated all the efforts SAT is doing in making sure that sustainable agriculture is been acknowledged and highly practiced. He appreciated highly the endeavours of the projects’ plan to build and utilize a processing unit. He asked the Chancellor to provide him all the infrastructure plans/proposals so that he can make a close follow-up at the district level. Thereby he mentioned that the project implementation shall benefit from available electricity and better roads. The conflicts among farmers and pastoralists was as well on his agenda with mentioning the need of two groups to work together. According to him, the FPC project has enormous potential to calm down the situation and to create new opportunities for the farmers and pastoralists within this area. The guest of honour, joined by all invited guests, took the lead to officially launch the two projects where he cut the ribbon before receiving full information about the tractor and the shelling machine that will be part of the Machinery ring component implemented under FPC project. He also planted a Cinnamon tree while the Ward Chancellor planted a clove tree at the farm as an official launch of the USP. Afterwards the guests were split in small groups and guided by SAT staff through the farm. After the tour, the event carried on with a Q&A session where guests had the chance to ask several questions; some were regarded to the uses of Medicinal plants found in the farm where the farm manager replied and informed them on the Natural Medicine course that is being offered at SAT FTC.
Prof. Kilasara closed the event with providing a vote of thanks to all participants and insisted that we all go ahead and keep promoting KILIMO HAI (organic agriculture).
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