For its second edition, success and relevancy of the Meru Farmers’ Fair are confirmed: more than 8,000 visitors attended the fair, from 19th to 21st November 2015, at Kikatiti, Arusha region. A new opportunity for local farmers to share ideas together and get the latest updates about agriculture from numerous exhibitors.
Fert is working since 5 years with farmers’ groups form this northern region of Tanzania. Here, the farms reach the size of an average of 2 acres, and their productions are much diversified for both vegetal production (maize, beans, banana, coffee, etc) and animal production (dairy cows, goats and poultry). It is in that context that farmers’ groups supported by Fert have expressed their wish to organize a farmers’ fair, in order to get connected to further actors of the sector.
Therefore, an organizing committee has been settled: Juwame (« Jukwaa la Wakulima wa Meru”, Meru farmers’ platform). It is composed of representatives of farmers and organizing partners, and aims at organizing the fair, with progressively more autonomy.
A broad diversity of actors
This year, more than 50 exhibitors where represented: seeds and other inputs companies, farm equipment companies, financial institutions, farmers’ organizations and also government agencies, NGOs or other technical service providers. This diversity of actors from both private and support sectors demonstrates the interest of such a professional event in this region.
Fruitful exchanges between farmers and technicians
The tent of Fert, at the entrance of the fair, was dedicated to farmers of Meru and Siha. Several dynamic groups of farmers from Meru and Siha exposed their productions and the competencies they have been trained on and they are implementing.
Among them, Maffie Ndeshukurwa Samwel is a farmer and a member of Inawanko group. About 30 years old and after having being proposed by her group, she has benefited of a deep training of “Paravet” , organized by Fert in 2015: “This training was of high level, she shares, especially for learning the vocabulary; thankfully, it was easier to me on the practical part of the training!”. Maffie continues her farming activity, but is now contacted by other farmers: “When an animal is sick, I visit the owner, and help him or her. If I see it is too complicated, I contact the district veterinary officer.” She gets an income for the visitations she does. The knowledge she shares with other farmers “helps to adopt more sustainable veterinary practices”, as she shares.
Nassary Kahanankura Massawe joined Mouwara farmers’ group 4 years ago “in order to share ideas and experiences and to learn together; it is with this same spirit that I visit the fair”. Massawe comments also: “There is a technician in each tent who can present the services and products of its company or organization. This year, I visited more specifically the banks because I need information to invest. I was able to compare the different products and new services they propose and make my own point of view”.
Massawe is also here to get updates on production techniques: “I like sharing ideas with other producers like me because we use the same words. I met one who produces organic vegetable at very low cost: it gave me some ideas. If I want to do the same, I need to modify my irrigation techniques.”