John and Josephina Daudi are cocoa farmers in Kilombero District in Morogoro, located in south-western Tanzania. With its good soil and favourable climate, the district is ideal for growing cocoa. However, many farmers in the district use traditional farming practices that lead to lower yields and poorer beans than might be achieved through modern practices.
In 2011, the Daudis decided to enrol in a farmer field school implemented by TechnoServe, an NGO supported by Irish Aid in Tanzania. Through the farmer field school, which brings together local farmers for group-based learning sessions, the couple learned improved practices, such as pruning, weeding, and application of organic fertiliser from self made compost, that they have since put into use on their farm. The other attraction that drew the Daudis to the farmers’ group was capacity to collectively process beans enabling them to sell fermented and dried beans instead of in their wet form. This extra level of processing combined with the quality of the beans increases the value of their produce considerably.
Prior to engaging the programme, the Daudis used local farming practices to cultivate cocoa beans for sale, selling them in their wet form at a maximum price of TShs 1,500 (€0.70) per kg. Since changing practices on the farm, the price they get for the beans is more than double (TShs 3,500 or €1.60 per kg). Production has risen from 208 kg per year to 316 kg per year within two years of initiating pruning.
This Irish Aid funded programme helps farmers to increase the quality and the yield of their cocoa beans and it links farmers’ groups directly to fermentaries and manufacturers. This means a lot to John and Josephina who say – ‘We now understand the quality of the cocoa bean is important, it provides a higher price, and now there is increased interest by buyers and we have choice and competition in the market.”
"I am glad that our daughter finished college and now she is working as a quality supervisor at Kokoa Kamili."
With their increased income, the couple have managed to build a house with iron sheet roofing and supported their daughter to study at Agricultural College. Mrs Daudi believes that participating in the TechnoServe farmer field school has greatly improved her family’s quality of life, “If not for cocoa we wouldn’t be able to support the kids and buy other needs. Cocoa sales changed everything we did and helped us finish our house as well. I am glad that our daughter finished college and now she is working as a quality supervisor at Kokoa Kamili”.
The Daudi’s farm has been selected as a learning site by members of the farmer group, so other farmers can see the impact of the farming techniques that the couple learned from the farmers’ field school.
Find out more about how Irish Aid supports agriculture.