From Darkness into Light

Ten minutes before eleven o’clock, Tausi Maginila and her companion Madogo Issa arrived at the market in Mkujuni – far too late to sell vegetables. That didn’t bother the Tanzanian farmers, who had arrived for a photo shoot.

Peter Lüthi, Communication

Patrick Rohr, the renowned Swiss photographer, was eagerly awaiting both of them. He had wanted to take a market photograph for the Biovision anniversary calendar with them in the atmospheric morning light. The higher the sun rose, the more nervous Rohr became. When 35-year-old Tausi Maginila and her sixty-year-old friend Madogo Issa finally stood in front of him, the light was too bright and the shadows too dark. Unfortunately, the farmers had not received the full information about the photo session. Had they come to the market for nothing? In any case, they had long sold their vegetables - directly from the farm.

The photographer shifted gears quickly. He moved the photo location to the large market hall, where there were balanced lighting conditions. The scenery in the empty hall, however, was not suitable for a calendar picture.

Organic vegetables as top sellers

After the photo shoot, Tausi Maginila told how she has been using ecological farming methods since 2015. Her organic vegetables immediately filled a gap in the market. At home, she earns at least 20% more for her products than at the market. "Organic vegetables are an indispensable source of income and very important for nutrition and health for me and my family," she said.

Tausi Maginila and Madogo Issa laid the foundation for their success as vegetable producers with the educational program at Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SAT), Biovision's long-standing project partner. There, they learned all about the cultivation of heirloom and modern types of organic vegetables. The training included how to produce compost and liquid fertilizer from plants, encourage healthy soils, plant terraces, hedges, and intermediate cover crops, and practice natural pest control with homemade plant-based sprays. The training finished with product marketing and the introduction of an interest-free savings and loan system in the farmers' group.

"SAT opened my eyes"

"The educational program was very good and helps me increase our income," Tausi said gratefully. Madogo Issa added, "I learned a lot in the field of organic farming and I became an entrepreneur. I was in the dark before the training. SAT opened my eyes and enabled me to improve my life.”

PS:

As expected, the photos of Tausi Maginila and Madogo Issa did not make it into the Biovision calendar. Luckily, Patrick Rohr had used his waiting time wisely. His picture for March shows the Mkujuni market with the farmer Aziza Mrisho and her organic vegetables.

  • The farmer Madogo Issa. (Photo by Patrick Rohr)
  • Madogo Issa and Tausi Maginila together at the vegetable market. (Photo by Patrick Rohr)
  • Farmer Tausi Maginila. (Photo by Patrick Rohr)
  • The calendar picture for the month of march: Farmer Aziza Mrisho with her organic vegetables at the Mkujuni market. (Photo by Patrick Rohr)

"SAT opened my eyes"

"The educational program was very good and helps me increase our income," Tausi said gratefully. Madogo Issa added, "I learned a lot in the field of organic farming and I became an entrepreneur. I was in the dark before the training. SAT opened my eyes and enabled me to improve my life.”

PS:

As expected, the photos of Tausi Maginila and Madogo Issa did not make it into the Biovision calendar. Luckily, Patrick Rohr had used his waiting time wisely. His picture for March shows the Mkujuni market with the farmer Aziza Mrisho and her organic vegetables.