In Tunduru district, the fields gleam with the shimmer of mature pigeon peas. Once overlooked and underpriced, these tiny legumes, dubbed locally as the ‘green gold,’ have transformed the fortunes of local farmers in a way few could have imagined.
This year, the Tunduru farmers are celebrating a bumper harvest of over 5 million kilograms of pigeon peas, valued at a whopping Sh. 10 billion for the 2023/2024 farming season. Behind this achievement lies a tapestry of collective effort, governmental foresight, and the indomitable spirit of the farming community.
Tamcu Ltd., the district’s apex cooperative body, has played a pivotal role in this metamorphosis. Their introduction of the warehouse receipt system, where farmers store their produce in accredited warehouses and receive a receipt as proof, has been a game-changer. This system has provided a secure platform for farmers, ensuring they receive fair prices for their hard work.
Iman Kalembo, the vibrant Manager of Tamcu, recalls the days when pigeon peas fetched a mere Sh. 868 per kilogram. Today, that price stands proudly at Sh. 1,998. This significant leap, according to Kalembo, can be credited to President Samia Suluhu Hassan and her administration’s initiatives.
“Our beloved President, Samia Suluhu Hassan, recognized the potential of this humble legume and took proactive measures to restructure the market,” Kalembo says, admiration evident in his voice. “From Sh. 868 in 2022/2023 to Sh. 1,998 in 2023/2024 – it’s more than just numbers; it’s about the rejuvenation of hope in the heart of every Tunduru farmer.”
Diversification and consistent encouragement are vital components of this success story. Mussa Manjaule, Tamcu’s eloquent Chairman, emphasizes the importance of farmers broadening their agricultural ventures. With the government’s support in establishing a sturdy market structure, the future looks promising for pigeon peas and other crops alike.
Yet, the success is not confined to the fields and farmer’s pockets alone. A ripple effect is evident. Transporters, like Hashimu Malembe, speak of the benefits trickling down. “With more produce comes the need for more transport. Our earnings have improved, allowing many of us to uplift our family’s living conditions,” he shares.
Marcelino Mrope, Tamcu’s Marketing Manager, paints a vivid picture of this transformation. He talks about the evolution from traditional homes constructed from wood and grass to modern edifices, a testament to the district’s progress.
The journey of Tunduru’s pigeon peas from obscurity to prominence serves as an inspiring testament to what can be achieved with collective determination, visionary leadership, and strategic reforms. As the sun sets over the golden fields of Tunduru, one can’t help but anticipate even brighter days ahead for this ‘green gold’ and its diligent custodians.