Iringa and Njombe are regions in the south of Tanzania. The climate there is perfect for growing green beans, snow peas and avocados. Sadly, the harvest sells for relatively little money. Farmers also find it difficult to export their vegetables. The SDG Partnership facility of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency has given a grant to the EAT:FRESH project. Project manager Steven Gajadin says, "This project creates an efficient system to grow, store and export fresh vegetables."
EAT:FRESH is a partnership of 2,240 small-scale farmers and various companies and organisations. Among other things, the project invests in organically certified manure. This improves the soil and increases the harvest. EAT:FRESH also takes care of the cold storage and rapid transport of vegetables. This makes them last longer and suitable for export.
Training and FRESH hubs
The various partner organisations are in close contact with the farmers about the amount and time of each delivery. The harvest is collected with refrigerated trucks, stored in new cold storage cells and prepared for export. "Timing is very important in this process. We only have a short period to make everything work. In that period, we need to coordinate with farmers, organise transport and distribute the vegetables to international customers," says Steven.
EAT:FRESH did not only improve the soil, storage and transport. It also developed a training programme for farmers united in Agriculture and Marketing Cooperative Organizations (AMCOS). Various organisations train the farmers in entrepreneurship and book-keeping, for example. They also teach them how to manage the soil sustainably and good agricultural practices. Farmers, processors and local authorities meet in ‘FRESH hubs’. They receive training, advice, and demonstrations of new techniques.
Benefits for the whole community
Steven is calling EAT:FRESH a success. "Small-scale farmers earn more money, and there are more jobs. These are what you might call the fruits of our labour. On average, the harvest size has increased by 20 per cent. Also, farmers lose 25 per cent fewer vegetables, and the soil has improved. This is a good thing for the farmers and the whole community. Once we start selling on international markets, the whole of Tanzania will benefit."
Partners of EAT:FRESH are TechForce Projects BV, GBRI Business Solutions, Stichting Agriterra, National Economic Empowerment Council and Guavay. Would you like to know more about our food security projects and public-private partnerships? Visit the information page of the SDG Partnership facility (SDGP).