*Model rural village
By Anthony Muchoki
Tandai Village in Morogoro Rural District is a good case study of a successful rural based farming economy that has led to great transformation characterised by improved livelihood and financial freedom.
Located about 45 Kms from Morogoro town, the remote village twin landmark achievements are Kinole (Tandai) Market, often described as the market that went to the villagers and Kinole Saccos, which boasts of over TSh 1.5 billion savings in its account at CRDB Bank, and lends out over a billion every year.
The two achievements are a testament of how organised farmers are able to achieve financially independent with prudent production, marketing and all other agricultural value chain activities.
In 2011, farmers in Kinole and the neighbouring Nyandira village, were the launch pads for Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa(AGRA)’s Organisation Support Centre in Africa (Fosca).
The project involved enhancing the skills of farmer organizations, which were under the National farmers’ network, MVIWATA to improved market opportunities, increase incomes and improve their livelihoods.
According to MVIWATA Executive Director Mr Stephen Ruvunga, the three-year project helped to improve productivity and marketing of smallholder farmers in 5 districts, namely Kiteto, Kongwa, Mbarali, Mvomero and Njombe.
One of its major component was strengthening organisational capacity of farmers, providing financial services and improving communication and information access among farmers.
According to the Board Chairman of the Kinole (Tandai) Market Said Said Mlowela the construction of the market by MVIWATA was landmark because, people did not believe that traders would be willing to visit such a remote area to purchase agricultural produce. .
AGRA support helped to consolidate the market and the sacco, which has made many young people in the area become farmers after school. The main goods sold at the market are bananas, pineapples and spices such as black pepper, cinnamon and cardamom, all produced by the villagers.
Farmers sell their produce jointly at the market, and they avoid to compete against each other but work as a block. Majority farmers in Kinole are members of Kinole Saccos which boasts 3500 membership.
For farmers in the area, the problem with their finance– is what to do with their savings, and not about borrowing. In 2014, then President Jakaya Kikwete, inaugurated a new building owned by the SACCOS. It has also majority stake in a marketing company called Kinota, which brands locally made spices.
The SACCOs’ savings alone stands at over Tsh 1.5 billion, loans portfolio over Tsh 1 billion, and other assets including its head office building, superseding the capital base of some community banks.
“Kinole Village is a real success story. Many young men have bought their own motor bikes. We have villagers who own transport trucks. Kinole Saccos annually loan out sometimes over a billion Tanzanian shillings,” notes veteran journalist Beda Msimbe, who comes from the area. Charles Jonathan Nyange, Credit Officer, Kinole Saccos attributes the success to the faith people have developed in their abilities to manage their local village institutions.
According to MVIWATA boss the rise of Kinole SACCOS, its exponential growth in the village has come by because it’s run by farmers themselves, and they have been very honest. Delegates from across Africa have been visiting the institution to learn about its success.
The hard work and positive spirit shown by the farmers who run it is exemplary, the management.
The availability of Saccos is a major boost to the farmers as they are able to access financial services to enable them engage in agricultural activities, notes Siaba Sufi, the chairman of the Farmers network that was established in 1993 to ensure that various farmer problems in the area are solved.
Sioaba says thanks to AGRA project and other donor funded projects farmers are now well enlightened and they been networking and through their network they have been able to also get assistance as a group. His network is called Mviwamu and has 12 farmers’ groups. Thanks to organised farmers groups, Kinole Saccos has grown to what it is today.
“Kinole Saccos is one of the biggest and most influential in Morogoro Region,” he notes. Other SACCos in the regions have not been as lucky. Kinole stands out as a shining star, for others to learn.
The then project coordinator for the AGRA supported project, Geofrey Kabuka say the project was instrumental in locking out speculator who were taking farmers for a ride. “We made the foundation for farmers to be in charge of their produces’ value chain,” he notes.
Last year the SACCOS and together with other stakeholders came up with the idea of starting a marketing company and a factory for spices. Farmers were not happy that Ugandans bought their spices and branded the same as made in Uganda.
They started A company called KINOTA. Abasi Fuko, a member of the Kinota board says the factory mooted by the company as the right answer to unscrupulous traders who take advantage of farmers especially during harvesting. Kinota is owned by the Tawa Market and Kinole Saccos.
Lessons learnt /Market and Saccos Visits
*Rural Development in remote areas is possible
*It is a brilliant idea to bring the market to the farmers when conditions allows
*A well organised market in rural settings is a good platform for facilitating other actors in the value chain to take action
*The two projects are a show of hope for development in Africa
*Organisational set up by villagers is possible, it is also possible to organise people to bring their own development up to a certain level.
*Loans are not necessarily interdependent to development. Some business people at the market have prospered without ever borrowing
*Post harvest losses risk is at time greater than production costs risks, no wonder farmers are afraid to borrow for developing their farms
* The market has established critical strategic linkages Eg with companies in Dar es Salaam like Bhakhresa that are big buyers. This can be adopted by other markets in remote areas.
2011/12: USD 600,001
Enhancing the skills of Farmer Organizations (FOs) under the MVIWATA network for improved market opportunities, increased incomes and improved livelihoods