LEADERS IN AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTIVITY
NEI operates in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania where 75% of the population are small-holder farmers. Due to a growing population, individual farm sizes have decreased in over the years and on an average each farmer has less than a hectare of land from which to support a typical household of 5 members.
The average income is $500 per year. A large number of farmers depend on coffee and bananas for their livelihood however both the prices for coffee and abundance of banana have decreased over the years, creating much insecurity for these farmers.
IMPACT ON INCOME
Farmers have seen an increase in income by intercropping with vanilla. Typically 50 - 100 plants are recommended to significantly increment to income levels.
A plant or vine gives an average 0.5-2 kgs of pods per year and the average price per kg ranges from $4 to $65 per kg. By reaching a target average of 70 vines per farmer, each farmers will earn an additional annual income of approximately $280 within 3-5 years, once the vines reach maturity.
NEI employs a model that identifies early adopters or “champions”, who are generally older, well respected members of the community. In addition to growing their own vines, they visit and advise other farmers in the region.
We also work with local women’s groups, where in addition to basic support in building trust and empowerment we are introducing technical training on solar drying of raw materials necessary to add value to their other crops such as mango and banana. This provides additional income to supplement their livelihoods.
In addition to technical training, farmers receive specialized training in areas such as group governance, savings, and good nutrition to increase the social impact of our work with them.
This is Mr. David Swai, he lives with his wife in the village of Mbweera, in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania.
Before retiring he worked in the school system and had a small farm. Today he still farms coffee, bananas and vanilla and raises pigs and poultry.
Mr. Swai became a Farmer Champion with NEI in 2012 and is a role model for other farmers in his community in growing vanilla. He is also able to represent challenge the farmers face to NEI. His teaching background makes him a natural leader in his community.
His role is essential to our mission of providing sustainable economic and environmental solutions to the farmers in Tanzanian. With the additional income he generates from vanilla farming he has been able to extend the educational opportunities for his family.
Penina Mungure is from the Ndatu village near Arusha. She started planning vanilla vines in 2005 but had no idea how to pollinate the flowers until she heard about the NEI farmer support network. Now she has become a Farmer Champion for NEI and works with new farmers to mentor them on growing vanilla.
With the additional income from vanilla she bought an egg incubator which allows her to produce chickens for her community.
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