Manyara Region was sprouting with activities during my visit in February. Twenty-three students from Södertörn University was gathering data for their bachelor’s degree essays. Three Södertörn University teachers and six local experts were supervising the students in the field. Two researchers from Södertörn University were conducting a workshop on innovative cluster development in sun flower oil production
. On top of it all, the Beras programme had managed to interest Kassel University in Germany to include Babati town as one of their fifteen case studies distributed in Asia, Latin America and Africa within the Organic Food Systems Programme of the FAO, which meant that a pilot study was made there by a master student. As if that wasn’t enough Manyara Organic Farming Initiative (MOFI) had a workshop to plan the activities for the coming three years and a board meeting. And I felt that I was the spider in the net and at least responsible for successful logistic arrangements of all these activities – and successful it became! So, it was a mix of many things. MOFI board signed the new contract for the coming three years with SOFIA and Forum Syd and made an activity plan. To summarize the plan:
- The first year a seed bank of local seeds will be created. First a study of the existing seeds, secondly a collection of the seeds, thirdly a plan how to distribute and urge the farmers to continue using these seeds. The Beras concept of learning centres, which we have now in the 11 prmary villages, will be used as seed reproduction sites and outlets of the seeds. The first real organic certificates will be given to our most qualified farmers.
- The second year will be devoted to EM-1 (Bokashi) composting and manuring and green house technology with the hope that small farmers can increase vegetable production and improve food security using local low price technology. These technologies are also well suited for urban agriculture.
- The third year MOFI will work with an outreach programme so that more farmers can benefit from organic production and organic certification (Participatory Guarantee System). This also includes Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) and Tanzania Food and Drugs Administration (TFDA) certifications.
Parallel to this all the activities that was conducted the first year will continue….what a challenge! I am looking forward to continuing working with MOFI….
See MOFI certification logo: Kilimo Hai=organic farming, Vyakula Asili=organic food