The agricultural fair of Meru was born in the north of Tanzania under the leadership of Fert and at the request of local farmers who encounter difficulties to meet buyers. For three days, from November 27 to 29, they exchanged, train and discover new products.
Everything begins a few months earlier when farmers in the Meru region in northern Tanzania, ask Fert organize an agricultural fair worthy of the name. “Traditional agricultural fairs as Nane Nane, August 8, have become popular events without time dedicated to education, regrets Ayo Simon, 61, a farmer in the village of Mareu. We wanted to establish an event where visitors receive a real learning and can ask questions. ”
Main demand of operators: meet buyers face to face. “Without that, we are isolated, Ayo Simon continues. Buyers do not come to us. The contact is then made by phone. When you have not enough money to buy credit, communication is limited. ”
Fert’s team agrees to launch the project, provided it is supported by a committee of farmers and the association withdraws gradually. It was then born Juwame, short for Jukwaa the Wakulima wa Meru platform of farmers in Meru Swahili. This association embryo itself the motor “The future of agriculture is in agribusiness.” Demonstrated its willingness to get out of subsistence farming and to organize. Hence a resolutely professional fair, with a theme day, a conference every morning and moments of exchange between farmers and buyers afternoon.
Day 1 – Cereals and oleaginous
The opening ceremony takes place under the eye of the committee composed of representatives of the organizing associations, farmers’ groups and the guest of honor, Grace Solomon, Head of the Agricultural Development and Cooperatives at the Meru District. The latter welcomes the fact that this fair is organized by and for farmers. She then talks about the importance of moving from a subsistence to a real remunerative work. Many farmers in the area cultivate indeed the staple food of the Tanzanian power, namely corn and beans, and only sell if there is surplus after feeding their families. Difficult in this context to find a steady buyer and expand his business.
Day 2 – Fruits and vegetables
“I came to make inquiries to rearrange my farm,” says Abraham Sumari leaving a conference dedicated to fruits and vegetables, the second day of the fair. At 62, this small producer of maize and beans has decided to turn to the vegetables and diversify its business. ” It’s time ! My father grew corn and beans, so I continued, without asking questions. But here, I meet people who explain to me what products work well, how to implement them and to whom to sell. I can also share with colleagues who have already taken the plunge. “
Day 3 – Poultry and milk
The third and final day of the fair is an opportunity for those who could not come during the week to tour the 36 exhibitors. Solar energy, agricultural machinery, inputs, financial services, certification services, co … By presenting their products, they discover new techniques to visitors. Mungure Rebecca, 49, a farmer in the village of Njeku, made several times around the stands. ” There are many choices ! Some exhibitors make me dream just because what they offer is beyond my means, but others quite meet my needs, I discover tools for my production. “Under each tent, Rebecca left her name and phone number. She left with a lot of contacts and a project: make a profit through the sale of chickens and buy a solar panel to finally have electricity at home.
Balance and projects
The formula of the fair Meru has clearly been appreciated since between 6000 and 7000 people were housed in three days. Main success: conferences dedicated to a different theme each morning. These training days were sold out on issues such as conservation agriculture, the proper use of pesticides, irrigation drip, artificial insemination or the presentation of a new product for insurance-the farmers. The efforts put in place to qu’agriculteurs and buyers can meet were also appreciated. Farmers and exhibitors therefore hope that this first edition of the fair of Meru farmers call another next year. “For this, it will further strengthen the preparation and support of farmers in the field and improve the upstream communication, provides Augustin Douillet, project to Fert. But some private companies have assured us of their support to speak of the fair within their networks. “