Training Centre for ecological agriculture
Effective solutions for small-scale farming and pastoral communities in Tanzania
The project aims to bring about sustainable improvements in the lives of smallholders and pastoralists in Tanzania. Our partner SAT (Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania) is training farming and pastoral communities in agro-ecological methods so that they can increase yields, improve livestock husbandry and protect natural resources. At the same time, the communities are benefiting from a local economic cycle that in turn will promote peaceful coexistence. By means of this project, SAT is creating a range of opportunities for the local processing and marketing of organic produce. The close cooperation between farmers and local scientists will encourage demand-led research in the field of agro-ecology.
Biovision and SAT are seeking to reduce poverty in the project region of Morogoro, improve food security and exploit the economic cooperation between farmers and pastoralists to defuse the current land-use conflict. In addition, agro-ecology represents an approach that encourages the sustainable use of natural resources and strengthens the resilience of rural populations to the effects of climate change (e.g. droughts).
The project directly benefits 1,200 - 2,500 small-scale farmers, 200 pastoralists, 50 students working in cooperation with farming families and 14 government agricultural advisers. In addition, the project will benefit some 30,000 people indirectly.
Objectives of current project phase
The project will focus on five specific areas:
- Encourage farmers and pastoralists in Mvomero District to use agro-ecological methods of production. The ongoing success of the project will serve as a model for other parts of Tanzania so that it can be easily copied and adapted to local conditions.
- Improve the supply chains for agricultural produce in Mvomero District by improving the infrastructure in the Farmer Training Centre, introducing new equipment and drought-resistant livestock breeds and promoting the local processing of produce.
- Enable farmers to benefit from targeted agricultural research that delivers practical solutions to their problems.
- Train and support farmers in the marketing of organic products and other commercial activities.
- Review and evaluate project activities on a regular basis to ensure that they are effective. Experience from the project will feed into the dialogue with politicians and scientists.
It is particularly important to boost the self-reliance of farmer groups, e.g. through the "Saving and Lending" schemes that allow farmers to make joint investments. The basic knowledge of bookkeeping and business management acquired during the project will enable groups to document and administer their marketing activities themselves.
The existence of economic incentives means that beneficiaries are more likely to continue the project even after the completion of the Biovision and SAT project. By providing training and increasing incomes, the project seeks to encourage the smallholders and pastoralists to maintain and finance equipment and processing units themselves in future. Effective, sustainable structures should enable the approach adopted by the project to be replicated in other village communities.
In order to achieve robust structures, the project will be evaluated externally on completion of the 2017-2019 phase. If the results are promising, there will be a further phase.