For the 4th consecutive year, the Juwame platform (Jukwaa la Wakulima wa Meru, platform of farmers in Swahili) organized its agricultural fair. It took place from 26-28 October 2017 in Usa River in the Arusha area.

Composed of various representatives of agricultural organizations and farmers from Meru, Juwame once again gave farmers in the region the opportunity to meet more than 20 exhibitors offering a wide range of services, as well as to present their products and participate in various thematic seminars.

Successful meetings between exhibitors and farmers

By walking around the tents, it was possible to exchange ideas with various exhibitors, offering seed of different types, financial equipment and services adapted to small farmers, or processors looking for new producers to work with.

This was the case of the Grand Demam dairy, which collects cow’s milk on the heights of the Meru and offers a wide range of processed products, such as yoghurts and white cheeses, which are very popular in the region.” Even if we don’t have a large unit, we don’t collect enough milk to enhance our production capacity, says the manager. Thanks to the new contacts we’ve been making for 3 years at the Meru Agricultural Fair, we’re increasing the volumes processed.”

For their part, the producers also presented their activities in the big tent dedicated to them. Some fifteen peasants from groups accompanied by Fert were on site with their animals to sell their products and share technical advice with visitors. Flora Mollel, a pilot farmer who ran the chicken feeding stand, was a great success.” Visitors have many questions about the use of ingredients. I give them the proportions to be respected, which they all write down on their notebooks!” she said, proud to share her knowledge.

Seminars at the heart of the event

In addition to the meeting with exhibitors, visitors had the opportunity to participate in seminars of various formats throughout the three days of the fair. They dealt in particular with access to quality seeds or the market or the integration of young people into agriculture. At the end of each seminar the reactions were very positive.” The round table discussion on seeds taught me a lot about the different varieties available and their characteristics. Now I will be able to go back to the seed suppliers with more precise expectations and demands.” says one participant.

The debate on the involvement of young people in agriculture, which followed the screening of an awareness-raising film, also allowed rich exchanges between farmers who feel concerned and responsible for this issue. Mama Nnko, who is heavily involved in the debate, insists: “It is essential that parents set an example by adopting innovative and profitable production techniques that can attract their children and motivate them to stay on the farm”.

Success that gives ambition

Simon Ayo, farmer and president of Juwame, does not hide his satisfaction on the organization of the fair. “Over the past six months, the members of the organising committee have been looking for sponsors to raise funds and have mobilised the exhibitors to ensure their participation. A consultant from Fert also accompanied them throughout the whole process, particularly in managing their budget. Thanks to the many sponsors and the good management of tent sales to exhibitors, we covered our expenses and even made a small profit! congratulates Simon Ayo. This money will enable us to maintain the relationship with our partners to prepare the fair in better conditions next year “.

But Juwame’s ambition does not stop there. Aware that farmers’ success depends not only on access to inputs and the market, but also on technical mastery of innovations, the platform’s members want to develop a second activity. Today, we are working with our technical partners on how to set up demonstration and trial plots in several remote areas of Meru district to organise field trips with farmers.”