Although poverty rates on Zanzibar are declining, 30.4% of the population still lives below the basic needs poverty line. Among 1.5M inhabitants of Zanzibar, 90% are doing horticulture and 42% is dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. With the NGO Trias and our partner TAHA, we acknowledged that although agriculture can play a significant role in generating incomes and jobs, the sector is facing several challenges as:
- Lack of appliances of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP),
- Lack of knowledge about the best treatment methods for plant pests and diseases
- Lack of entrepreneurial knowledge and skills
- Lack of availability of and access to quality inputs
- Market information and financial services
- Lack of access to water and irrigation infrastructure
- Weak agro-processing capacity
To support the community and enhance organic horticulture in Zanzibar, Our Farm Zanzibar implemented its first training sessions in June 2021. To make it possible, the NGO has recruited a French trainee, Ms. Balkiss Meghazi, in charge of implementing agricultural training with Zanzibari farmers since April 2021.
Our Farm Zanzibar is willing to enhance horticulture in Zanzibar and improve producers’ incomes by integrating them in a new value chain. As Ms. Maelle Collot and Mr. Yves Montel are managing and owning hotels, Our Farm Zanzibar can supply its production to hotels. As the demand in horticulture product is high in hotels, we believe we could develop a new value chain. Training producers and guiding them with a weekly visit will not only boost horticulture in Unguja but will lead to a value chain based on a ‘100% made in Unguja'.
It means as an NGO, we would like to support Unguja agriculture by promoting products grown in the island and bought by the community.
To make it possible, Our Farm Zanzibar would like not only to produce organic horticulture products on their farms but also to support farmers in growing horticulture products. As training is a key for sustainable agriculture, training Zanzibari farmers will improve their agricultural skills and altogether we will be able to supply hotels in Unguja and some marketplaces.
We really want Zanzibari farmers to develop organic practices and lead to organic agriculture. For each farmer who succeed in improving her/his agricultural practices and understand environmental issues as organic agriculture thanks to the training, she/he will receive a certification from Our Farm Zanzibar. Thus, these certified farmers will be eligible to join our fair-trade circuit.
In April 2021, from associated member we became allied member with TAHA, to work hand in hand to develop the training program. Becoming allied member allowed us to work with the NGO Trias and share ideas about training, as they are implementing a four-year program ‘Make it Grow!’. Based on the work they did to know farmers’ needs and according to our knowledge, our intern Ms. Balkiss Meghazi, realised a program to train farmers.
The program consisted in 5 sessions with 2-day training by session to allow Zanzibari farmers to attend training despite their on-call duty. Every session was about good agricultural practices with dedicated time for theory and practical. More especially, our intern focused trainings on 2 main points:
- Plant protection: How to prevent crops from diseases and benefits of organic agriculture
- Soil management: Improving soil structure with organic matter and how to make and use compost as an organic fertilizer.
The sessions took place at the training centre of TAHA in Mpapa. It was a strategic place as TAHA is well known among the farmers and already did different trainings across the island. Choosing this training centre was relevant as many farmers know about its location and didn’t get any challenges to reach there. To give a chance to every participants to participate in the trainings, Our Farm Zanzibar covered transportation fees to ensure no farmers is left behind.
Our partner TAHA worked with us through their agronomist to develop training in Swahili. Indeed, our goal was to make trainings available to as many farmers as possible. Conducting the training sessions in the local language (and not in English) allowed us to reach all types of farmers. Each session had between 12 and 15 participants. Small-training group allowed farmers to really have an interaction with the training coordinator.
They got the opportunity to ask all questions they wanted, to be active and to really get knowledge, especially with the training book Balkiss prepared for them.
During this 2-day training, every farmer was given a book containing the main knowledge about Soil management and plant protection. The book was made with the idea that farmers could take notes during the training but also so that they could have a written record of their training session.
Indeed, the book prepared by our trainee included:
Elements of the training day, with pictures to make the training accessible to illiterate farmers
The key points they had to remember for the assessment
Documents they can reuse on their farm, to have a better management of their production and their stock
In order to provide comprehensive training to farmers, Anastazia Edigio, nutritionist in TAHA, allocated one hour to train our farmers about:
Causes of undernutrition
Hidden hunger (micronutrient deficiency)
Proper eating and feeding of the infants and young children to prevent undernutrition.
Basics of balanced meal (diet)
To have a feedback of our training and based on request of our Zanzibari farmers, we conducted assessment in Kiboje farm.
Kiboje farm was relevant for the assessment as farmers wanted to see how we are dealing with Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) in our farms. We realised a 2-day assessment during July 2021 with theory and practical tests. The first day, 20 farmers arrived for assessment and 28 farmers for the second day. In total 48 farmers attended our assessment sessions.
Our Farm Zanzibar reached out 70 farmers during its five sessions. Unfortunately, 45 farmers attended assessment, other farmers due to emergency issues and on-call duty in the farm couldn’t attend it. 30% of our Zanzibari farmers succeeded the assessment and we considered it as a success. These farmers are willing to work with us and we will focus on them to implement together a new value chain. Other Zanzibari farmers won’t be left behind and have already been invited to our next training sessions.
Each farmer who succeeded our assessment received a certificate from Our Farm Zanzibar and TAHA to have well performed the training and succeeded assessment. This certificate will allow them to work with us and be part of the fair-trade circuit we want to put in place.
This first training session allows Our Farm Zanzibar to know the financial requirements to conduct training.
Now, we want to keep going to train Zanzibari farmers with the goal of having trainings the whole year!