KIWATA is a kidney bean and ginger farmers cooperative with 500 members located in Madaba, 115 km from the Songea municipality. The cooperative’s goal is to promote the growth and promotion of organic ginger and red kidney beans by using international organic farming best practices. KIWATA’s aim is to ensure high-quality organic certification for its members. To reach that goal, the cooperative works on improving its members’ knowledge of organic agriculture practices through training and mentoring in the farmers’ village, thanks to lead farmers who develop hubs for learning, training and experience sharing.
From the end of 2012 until 2013, KIWATA benefitted from financial support from TDC that aimed to improve the market access for KIWATA products (by increasing both volume and prices thanks to improved quality). Each village appointed one person to be trained in organic cultivation techniques. This person later passed on the knowledge they gained to his or her fellow villagers. Theoretical insights were tested on trial plots under the guidance of the NGO Rucodia staff. The low prices in 2012 slowed down the process, but in 2013, greatly improved quality boosted interest from traders. Yields increased by 20% and the price that farmers obtained for ginger grew fourfold in the space of half a year.
Despite the achievements from the first project, KIWATA faced several setbacks such as a lack of capital, low level management capabilities, and a lack of agricultural know-how. Thanks to a partnership with the NGO Rucodia, the Tanzanian umbrella organisation TOAM (Tanzanian Organic Agriculture Movement), and the TDC’s financial support, it made progress. The Trade for Development Centre assisted KIWATA with €59,816 of financial support between October 2014 and October 2015. The aim of the support was to strengthen the KIWATA member base, improve product quality and storage capacity while increasing its sales volume, and obtain certification for all its members.