|Tanzania Tree Crop Project|
In a country like Tanzania where agriculture contributes 45-50 percent of GDP and employs 80 percent of the labor force, interventions that can increase agricultural income are critical to the reduction of poverty. Production of tree crops, through technically sound and market-appropriate methods, is an ideal way for small-scale farmers to generate wealth, hedge against cyclical crop failures, and expand income potential. While tree crop cultivation is an established practice among Tanzanian farmers, it has typically been unprofitable, especially when it has involved indigenous trees. The USAID-funded Tree Crop Activity that EWV has been implementing in Tanzania since January 2006 is dramatically altering producers’ results. By encouraging small-scale farmers to invest their own resources in tree crop cultivation, building new and existing businesses to provide critical services to tree crop producers, and strengthening producer groups, EWV is helping highland farmers capture more value added for their product. With the support of the project farmers are successfully:
• Growing improved varieties of fruit
• Applying a wide range of improved agricultural practices that increase both the yields and the quality of the fruit produced
• As part of Farmer Producer Groups marketing their fruit collectively to larger and more profitable markets
The result is not only a significant increase in incomes, but also the development of a group of rural smallholder farmers that are increasingly able to interact effectively with the marketplace. In addition, expanded investments in tree crops are allowing farmers and communities to generate income in a manner that helps to stabilize fragile hillsides. Importantly, while the decision to cultivate tree crops involves minimal up-front investments, and requires substantially less labor and inputs than traditional crops, Tanzanian farmers will be able to continuously be able to earn proportionally greater returns for more than 30 years into the future.
To date EWV Tree Crop activities have assisted with planting over 3.6 million trees and will generate total economic benefits of over USD$42 million.