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In Tanzania, nearly half of the population lives below the poverty line. Stunting – a sign of chronic malnutrition – affects more than one third of children under five years of age. Despite growing 70% of the food needed to feed their country, women farmers find it incredibly difficult to provide nutritious food for their families. They work 15-hour days in the field and lack the income and resources to provide nutritious meals.
This project (also known as CARE's Growing is Learning project) will support women farmers to improve their farming knowledge and skills, learn how to improve their family’s nutrition and increase their income by engaging them more fully in the growing, processing and selling of soy products.
This project in Tanzania’s Iringa Rural District aims to increase food and nutrition security, income, and climate change resilience among vulnerable small-scale women farmers, through gender-transformative programming within the soya value chain.
CARE will support women farmers to enter the profitable soy market by training them in production and linking them into the local markets to sell their supply and earn an income. Soy is a highly suitable crop for the region due to its nutritious benefits, resilience and soil enhancing qualities. Household nutrition will also be improved through awareness sessions and cooking demonstrations.
Project objective: Provide women farmers with the opportunity to increase crop production, improve their income and financial literacy skills and improve their overall nutrition.
CARE have developed their planned activities by identifying the greatest challenges that are faced by the communities and building solutions to address them.
1. Challenge: Women farmers lack the skills to improve their crops and have little influence in their communities.
Many women farmers cannot read or write, most women don’t own the land they farm on and they do not have a say in their working conditions. Within communities there is also a negative perception of women who are strongly engaged in business and as a result producer groups have low participation by women, and they miss out on valuable skills and resources.
Solution: Train women farmers in best practice and work with communities to increase their voice.
Demonstration plots will be established where 750 farmers (70% women) will learn about organic fertiliser production, seed multiplication and how to adapt their practices season-to-season, to mitigate against climate shocks. Alongside this, training will be provided on increasing financial awareness and negotiating skills, to help farmers secure a better price for their crop.
CARE will also work with producer groups and communities to increase women’s representation and increase their voice in decision-making. Training will take place to help challenge traditional roles within households and communities. Male champions in each community will act as role models for change, reaching out to their communities to promote gender equality and women’s voice.
2. Challenge: Communities lack knowledge on healthy eating resulting in high rates of malnutrition.
Undernutrition remains one of the largest threats to human development in Tanzania. More than 10 million women are anaemic due to iron deficiency. In Iringa over 50% of the population suffers from malnutrition, despite producing many highly nutritious crops.
Solution: Provide training on nutrition and food preparation, particularly soy.
Outreach workers will educate communities about nutrition and champions will be identified in each village to provide monthly demonstrations on healthy food preparation and cooking. One farmer per village will also be trained to establish home gardens to grow fresh vegetables and reduce the need for purchasing food.
Men and women will be educated, to take the burden off women who are expected to work in the fields all day and then feed the family at home. It is currently fairly common practice for women to give their babies a small amount of alcohol during the day so that they sleep and the women can work more. Messaging will focus on nutrition at home and particularly best practice with children.
3. Challenge: Women farmers are struggling to earn a living.
Agriculture remains a dominant sector of the Tanzanian economy, supporting up to 80% of livelihoods, but many farming families live in persistent poverty. Women farmers lack market knowledge and financial literacy, which prevents them from developing entrepreneurial skills and competing in markets to get better prices. They also lack access to formal financial services like loans, which would allow them to invest in their product or establish other income generating activities to maximise their income.
Solution: Train women farmers in effective farming and processing techniques, link them with suppliers and educate them in financial literacy.
CARE will work with producer groups to train 2,250 farmers in how to ensure the best quality crop post harvest. This includes ways to clean, sort and pack crops to ensure they don’t deteriorate. Farmers will also be trained in the value of working together to process and sell their crops, which would result in a higher value product to trade at market level.
Other skills like entrepreneurship, business planning and marketing will complement practical training to help farmers build stronger businesses. The project will also connect farmers to banks and microfinance agencies for additional financial support.
4. Challenge: Small-scale farmers lack a voice and influence in Tanzania’s agricultural sector.
Tanzania’s agricultural agriculture policies are not resulting in a significant improvement of conditions for small-scale farmers. There is a strong focus on industrialisation and expansion of the private sector.
Solution: Establish roles to foster and build relationships between farmers and the wider agricultural sector.
Alongside practical training for farmers, CARE will work with the private and public sector to build better links between small-scale farmers and Tanzania’s wider agriculture sector.
Roles will be created to help foster these relationships and CARE will work to increase farmers’ participation in existing agricultural forums. This will enable farmers to have a say in decisions that affect their future and help create value chains that work for them.
The $20,000 from the Footprints network will go towards:
CARE ensures the project is sustainable by engaging entire communities and works with implementing partners including local level government, national government and other local NGOs, including: