For, and with, farming families in Tanzania

In spite of its rapid economic growth, Tanzania remains one of the poorest countries in the world. Out of 189 countries, it ranks at 163 on the “Human Development Index”.  Almost 70 % of the active work-force work in the agriculture sector, 80% of whom are on small farms. Therefore, most Tanzanians make their livelihoods on farming, making them vulnerable to the effects of climate change such floods and draughts which occur more and more frequently.

Because of the lack of variety and nutrients in the diets, malnutrition is widespread around the country, particularly in children. This is especially the case around Arusha, where Iles de Paix operates (Northe of the country). The fertile, but fragile, slopes of Mount Meru, which feed the town of Arusha, are being affected by the growing population.

The widespread use of pesticides in this region, the expansion of the town and the effect of climate changes are destabilising the food system economically, environmentally and socially.

The widespread use of pesticides in this region, the expansion of the town and the effect of climate changes are destabilising the food system economically, environmentally and socially.

Our work in Tanzania

Drawing on the expertise of three local partners (Recoda, MVIWA-Arusha and TOAM), we are working with farming families to transition to agro-ecology:

  • We train and support the farmers in improving their production, harvesting methods and storage  capacities. We suggest techniques that are tested and presented on a demo plot or on certain pilot farms.  The results have already led to the planting of more varieties of fruit and vegetables and the use of local seeds. We help farmers understand what consumers want, to identify the best times for marketing and to improve their revenues from the sale of their produce.
  • We trigger reflection from consumers, restaurant owners, students and journalists to contribute to the improvement of the rights of farmers. For example, we do radio programs, poster campaigns on local and healthy foods, cooking demonstrations at markets, show videos on buses, etc. 
  • We collaborate with local authorities to implement policies on sustainable agriculture and food production. We support especially the initiatives taken by the town of Arusha after the signing of the “Milan Pact”.  Since then, the town has contributed to the development of food systems that are more sustainable and respectful of the environment and able to provide a healthy and affordable diet for all.
  • Through the holding of events and study groups and our involvement in local networks, we work with Tanzanian authorities for an  framework and resources supportive to agroecology, sustainable food system and sustainable management of natural resources.
  • The severe draughts experienced in the region for the past several years are aggravating the need for water. In order not to omit any populations, we are working with the Masai people (in the north) to improve their access to water for their cattle. 12 watering sources have already been built or renovated. We now plan to provide continuous maintenance of these installations by training local  technicians and by setting up community organisations that will be responsible for their oversight.

Some key numbers

Just in 2020, we worked with more than 5,000 individuals, 47 % of whom were women. After several years of work, 400 producers are self-managing local seeds through the creation of 8 community seed banks. More than 1,000 livestock farmers use veterinary services, thanks to 8 animal health public officers. 240 farmers are mastering agro-forestry techniques; 44 of them created their own nurseries. Thanks to our program with the Masai population, 52,500 people can access water year round.

Because we do not want to stop there, we would like to work with 2,000 more farmers. We want to support 30 food processors, 15 small businesses and 15 restaurant owners. We would like to partner with 20 schools to raise the awareness of 2,000 youth and teachers. We plan to collaborate with 15 journalists to reach out to more than 200,000 consumers.

Our partners in Tanzania

RECODA (Research, Community and Organizational Development Associates) is a Tanzanian NGO created in 2000 for the purpose of filling the void in the technology of agricultural development through socio-economic research, capacity building of grassrootsorganisations, the provision of consulting services and the facilitation of community projects. Its goal is to eliminate poverty and food insecurity in Tanzania by ensuring that rural communities are able to create livelihoods that are socially and economically sustainable and that improve their living conditions. RECODA is a reference NGO in Tanzania in the area of rural development, and is recognised nationally, thanks to the interventions it carried out in several regions in collaboration with partners of all kinds. It is an active member of several networks at both national and regional levels (PELUM, TOAM).

Mtandao wa Vikundi vya Wakulima na Wafugaji Mkoa wa Arusha (MVIWAARUSHA) is a regional farmer  organisation created in 2010 from previous producer federations in several districts in the Arusha region in Tanzania. The organisation is made up specifically of small farming families (cattle and vegetable farmers, apiculturalists and fishers) present in the six districts of the region. Its main goal is to build up cattle and vegetable farming groups in order to improve their participation in the planning,   implementation and supervision of the processes of social and economic development. MVIWAARUSHA assists its members in making their voices heard on issues that concern them, through lobbying and advocacy. They gain from increasing visibility, locally and nationally, as spokespersons for farmers and cattle breeders both publicly and politically.

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