In March 2022, the Tanzania team brought together CROPS4HD project representatives from Niger and Chad as well as several experts from FiBL and SDC. This visit provided an opportunity to exchange knowledges and learn about the project progress at this stage, with the focus mainly on the implementation of PULL activities, specifically on the first Participatory Market Chain Approach (PMCA) event in Tanzania.
The aim of the PMCA is to bring together different actors involved in the food system market chain, specifically those who have an interest in Neglected and Underutilised Species (NUS), and to support them in thinking about synergies among them as well as promoting collaboration. This first event took place in SWISSAID N’gongo centre, which gathered around a hundred participants. Furthermore, the presence of the foreign delegation was very much appreciated as FiBL experts could share their expertise on this new PMCA approach with them as well as all other participants (upcoming: dedicated article on this PMCA event). This exchange was also a good opportunity for Chad and Niger’s representatives in acquiring their first experience from such event. They have strongly shared their satisfaction and are now looking forward to applying their newly acquired experience in their own countries.
This visit was highly valued by all as it strengthens the links between CROPS4HD project officers and to share knowledge between countries. In addition, various additional activities were organised during this week: visit to Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI), meetings with the regional committees of Massasi, Lindi and Mutwara, and numerous field visits. These visits were particularly beneficial as the participants had the opportunities to discuss the seed trials and receive direct feedback from FiBL experts on site. As a matter of fact, these also enabled FiBL to assess the activities on the ground which expressed satisfaction with the progress of the mother trials to-date. TARI is currently processing three varieties of seeds: Fonio, Bambara beans and Sesame. The aim of these trials is to test several varieties and then give the opportunity to the peasants which can select the variety that they prefer, with the guidance of the trial results.
Unmistakably present is the strong stakeholders’ commitment, which was highlighted throughout the visits and the numerous discussions between project coordinators, experts and people directly active on the ground. This gathering of project actors also enabled some common approaches and conclusions about the progress of CROPS4HD to be reached. All in all, the overall visit outcome was very positive, and provided valuable lessons and recommendations that will help to further strengthen future project activities, and to support the successful delivery of this challenging but exciting project.