In Tanzania, the project started in July 2021 with a field visit by the consortium members. The first objective was to get an insight into the reality of Tanzanian farmers’ lives and the important achievements of the SWISSAID programme in Tanzania, in order to define how and in which regions and districts the CROPS4HD project will focus its action. Several groups of farmers were interviewed briefly about their production, their production of neglected and underutilized species (NUS) and the economic opportunities they have. The baseline survey will further clarify the first impressions from this first insight, but some points already seem clear: agroecological products are mainly sold at the farm gate, and seeds are mainly saved and reproduced by the farmers themselves (seed banks are very rare in Tanzania at the moment).
Secondly, in order to identify the potential on the PULL side (demand), several urban and peri-urban markets were visited. A cooperative running a sunflower oil press was visited, as well as several other promising initiatives for selling agroecological products (I’m Organic, SAT shop). The slogan Kilimohai (organic) seems to be gaining momentum in Tanzania, mainly among the wealthiest part of the population, who is obviously more concerned about the quality of the products they buy. Despite this, the cost-effectiveness of such initiatives remains elusive. CROPS4HD will implement the PMCA (participative market chain approach) that should help to foster innovative processes or products that will promote the market for NUS and organic products.
Finally, essential contacts have been made with government institutions (TARI, TPRI) and research institutions (Sokoine University, World Vegetable Centre) and partner organisations (SAT, Echo, TABIO). These contacts will enable the initiation of an effective collaboration on the promotion of NUS, at the production level (participatory varietal selection, on-station trials, etc.) at market creation level and at policy level.