The Uluguru Spice Project (USP) is based in the Uluguru Mountains in Morogoro District, Tanzania. Its goal is that 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 Natural Resources. Small-scale farmers will receive training in sustainable agriculture with focus on organic spice production, organic certification and market access for their products.

SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE TANZANIA (SAT)

Implemented in

  • Africa

Sectors of activity
Food & Beverage, Environmental Services

Type of initiative
Capacity Building & Implementation

Type of lead actor
Civil society

Start date
04/08/2017

Objectives

The project improves the agricultural production of small-scale farmers by training in integrated spice cultivation with agroforest systems and other relevant agroecological practices. This results in both an increase in the governmental expertise in spice production and trade, as well as a qualitative and quantitative increase in general spice production in Tanzania, as knowledge is provided to organizations, companies and the government.

- 1000 small-scale farmers trained in agroecological practices
- 10% increase in production of 1000 small-scale farmers
- 20% increase in household income
- 500 hectares of land under agroecological production
- 10,000 existing trees integrated into the production system
- 5,000 new trees planted (additional carbon sequestration)
- 5 regions of Tanzania benefit from organic spice production
- 15 extension officers trained
- 1125 small-scale farmers from other regions trained
- Curriculum developed

Through the project, the local spice value chain is strengthened through training of the farmers in further processing techniques and marketing of the products, as well as the development of a SAT product line. 500 farmers are certified and linked to the Tanzanian spice market by means of a network with traders and companies.

- 20% increase in earnings
- At least 10 groups have small processing facilities on their farm
- 20 groups classify spices
- 10 groups process spices
- 75% of the products are connected to traders/markets
- 25% of products are processed, packaged & marketed by SAT
- 3 organic spice products are developed and marketed for the local market

Within the project, farmer groups are strengthened in terms of leadership, savings & lending and marketing. This promotes increased solidarity and cohesion among the group members. In addition, the farmer groups are given the opportunity to organise themselves, thus responding adequately to market fluctuations as well as being able to act intensively in negotiations.

- Social and economic capacity of farmer groups are increased and allow for a profitable collaboration
- 20 groups have three operating committees

The project includes a monitoring and evaluation plan that is complemented with research. Participatory and action research is being conducted, which is developed together with the small-scale farmers during Workshops for Participatory Research Design (WPRD).

- 20% of farmers benefit from the research results
- External evaluation
- 2 Internal Follow-up Studies
- 10 research carried out


Activities

- After the mobilization of farmers through local authorities and existing extension officers, the farmer groups are trained in organic farming methods by using Farmer Field Schools.

- Farmers are selected in a participatory process and formed to a training committee which is facilitated to train other farmers by using the Farmer2Farmer approach. In return, the facilitating group receives special training in one additional training module of their choice.

- A training module for extension services is developed and offered at SAT Farmer Training Centre (FTC) in Morogoro. The course is advertised through media and conducted in one-week special training courses on spice production and processing.

- Besides a participatory market research, stakeholder-forums are conducted where relevant issues from the spice sector are discussed and the demand in quality/quantity of spices demonstrated. In addition, organic products from farmers and sustainable cultivation techniques are presented in agricultural exhibitions in Tanzania.

- A feasibility study is conducted to find potential groups who can process products on farm. These groups are supported by facilities for processing and training on how to use the processing equipment/facilities.

- A processing unit is developed and constructed at SAT FTC in Morogoro. This facility is used to produce and market a designed product line on SAT organic spices.

- Trained farmer groups are facilitated in the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) process. The organisation TOAM as custodian of the East African Organic Mark is invited and supported during the certification with logistics and information.

- Farmers are facilitated in establishing saving and lending groups. The activities are monitored through follow-up visits.

- Data from farmers (socio-economical, environmental and geographical GIS) are collected through questionnaires throughout the project and external, as well as internal evaluations conducted.

- A research cluster is developed in collaboration with lecturers from the Sokoine University for Agriculture (SUA) in Morogoro. Farmers and students are introduced to participatory research in a Workshop for Participatory Research Design (WPRD) at SUA campus. Students who conduct participatory research are supervised and supported with equipment and transport during their research period in the villages. The obtained results of the researches are summarized and the findings shared with spice stakeholders.

Impact and Results

Overall the project has economic benefits for farmers who are involved in the spice sector. Through improving quality and quantity farmers can fetch better prices. Value adding measures applied by farmers help to increase their profit. The agroecological methods of cultivating a biodiverse production allows the farmers to produce for their subsistence and to sell next to spices surplus products like fruits and vegetables to the market. Especially women benefit from training on income generating activities like vegetable production and combine the gained income with saving and lending activities which brings benefits for their whole families. Offering youth profitable income generating activities reduces migration to the cities.

Farmers practicing agroecological farming methods have great environmental benefits. With the right measures farming does not have an expiry date which is usually caused by soil erosion, soil fertility loss and high salinity levels. Appropriate soil and water management and the abandonment of harmful synthetic chemicals allow even further generations to practice agriculture. Reforestation measures undertaken contribute to carbon sequestration and counteract the deforestation of the Uluguru mountains. Moreover, the agroecological famers can be called environmental stewards, since they provide ecosystem services which particularly are watershed, biodiversity, climate and environment protection.

The social benefits of a strong community of farmers are that with combined efforts they can invest in their life and make a change. Children can be sent to school and health care can be accessed. Organised farmers can as well tackle other related community problems. SAT has experienced several times that a strong farmer group takes the initiative to construct a road or a dispensary which creates a benefit for the whole community. Women benefit from the empowerment which they gain through holding important positions in farmer groups.
Since the government is interested on one hand to protect watersheds from environmental degradation and on the other hand in reviving the spice production of small scale farmers, it will be possible through this project to demonstrate that agroecology has the potential to do both. That means that from the political aspect USP has the potential to streamline the recognition of agroecological practices into policy level, since it benefits farmers and the environment.

Next steps and how to get involved

The first phase on mobilization of farmer groups and government extension officers has been accomplished whereby SAT facilitators worked closely with Local Government Authorities. The formed farmer groups have been facilitated in sustainable farming methods with focus on organic spice production. The established farmer groups have already been capacitated on various agroecology practices and some have already started practicing at their farms. One of the next steps is the formation of group committees which will coordinate the marketing of the group. In this regard, the following activities are planned to be carried out in 2018:

- Working on the design for a SAT product line on organic spices in Tanzania
- Forming of committees consisting of trained farmers who will facilitate other small-scale farmers in agroecological farming methods
- Train extension officers on organic farming methods at SAT Farmer Training Centre (FTC)
- Facilitating trained farmers in the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) certification process
- Offering a special training on organic spice production for 90 model farmers at FTC
- Establishing of spice demo plots
- Organizing a stakeholders-forum to demonstrate demand in quality and quantity of organic spices and to discuss the production standards within the spice sector
- Conducting a feasibility study to identify the potential groups who can process products on farm
- Constructing facilities for processing on farm
- Facilitating
- Introducing SAT Group Saving & Lending to the farmer groups
- Continuation of establishing tree nurseries
- Facilitating farmers on marketing and linking them to the spice market

The project is not yet totally financed. There is still a financial gap of 18%. Interested foundations or donators are warmly welcomed to get in contact with SAT under janet.maro@kilimo.org (Janet Maro - SAT Director)