To increase the productivity of rural subsistence farmers in the district of Korogwe, Tanzania.
The Korogwe Project (TKP) facilitates the development of local solutions, organizes and refines project plans to ensure project feasibility, economic sustainability, and community adoptability.
Currently the project operates a 41-acre farm in the rural village of Kwakiliga where farmers explore the benefits of new farming techniques in an environment that limits their downside risk without discouraging their upward incentives.
75% of Tanzanians are small-scale subsistence farmers. This means that they depend on the food they grow to feed their families and provide income. Most have no access to agricultural training, and few possess the financial means to consistently access high-yield seeds and conventional agricultural inputs (fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides). Most farmers are forced to perform back-breaking labor by hand, for they are unable to afford the use of a tractor or mechanized plow. Many farmers, therefore, employ sub-standard methods of cultivation that produce inconsistent, inadequate yields. As a result, 44% of Tanzanians go hungry through some part of the year.
Global climate change compounds these existing agricultural challenges. As the climate changes, East Africa is growing increasingly dry, further limiting potential yields and producing increasingly frequent and serious crop failures. Local yields diminish as fast as the local population grows and global food prices spike.
The need to provide small-scale farmers with the means to increase agricultural production in this increasingly hostile environment is clear. Our project was born the summer of 2009, emerging out of meetings with local farmers, leaders, and officials. In partnership with the Anglican Church, local NGOs, and the local government, we are developing an agricultural training center to facilitate the spread of agricultural expertise among the region’s small-scale farmers.OUR PHILOSOPHY
The growth of urbanization in Africa has led to a widespread "brain-drain" in the rural areas as young people move into the cities to acquire more advanced jobs. Thus, farming techniques remain antiquated and production low. We believe that to change this situation we must devise a way of making agricultural production "popular" again, and a key way to do that is to ensure that the field is innovating. We want to create an experience of shared innovation, where we are constantly bringing in new techniques and assessing their viability in our communities. In order to do that, we must create a safety net for farmers to 'experiment' with new farming techniques without the fear of going hungry if the new techniques fail.
We also believe in farming techniques that are environmentally and socially sustainable. We encourage the use of organic fertilizers and pesticides where available and effective, as well as erosion control methods and the purposeful use of irrigation supplies. These techniques must be locally accessible, both physically and economically, as well as easily adoptable by and profitable for the community to facilitate a high rate of 'buy-in'.The Farm: St. John's Organic Agro-Livestock Trust (SJOALT)
We currently are leasing a 41 acre farm in Kwakiliga village from the Anglican Diocese of Tanga to serve as the site for the center. In our current pilots phase, we provide 1 acre plots to families selected by the residents of Kwakiliga village. 1 representative from each family joins a committee that is responsible for financial accountability. They keep each other working hard. We provided each family with high-yield seed and the use of a tractor on their farm plots, as well as a promise to coordinate transport of their goods to a market with a demand for their product. These were given as a loan that the committee will repay collectively. We provide each family with demonstration-based training in sustainable agricultural practices. Our goal is to increase each family’s agricultural productivity 3-fold to ensure food security.
Father Komba is the Canon for the Anglican Diocese of Tanga, and is currently studying for a degree in Economic Development at Mwalimu Nyerere Memorial Academy in Dar-es-Salaam. He will be coordinating our efforts throughout Korogwe, introducing our team to the local farmers and helping us assess the distribution systems.
John is a retired sisal plantation manager having worked in farming and agriculture for over 30 years. He lives in Korogwe with his wife and grandchild and spends most of his time split between entertaining the local children and working on several NGO business plans.
Yakub grew up in Korogwe, studied Computer Science at the University of Dar es salaam and Computer Enginering at BITS in Dubai-UAE. Yakub coordinates many of the partnerships between the Korogwe Project and other local organizations working in and around Korogwe.
Brendan is working in Korogwe on behalf of the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio identifying potential social projects for investment. Before undertaking this work in Tanzania, Brendan served in the US Armed Forces as a marine and later attended John Carroll University studying economics and philosophy. Brendan helps coordinate TKP activities.
Jesse is a masters candidate at Stanford University studying Sustainable Design and Construction. He completed his undergraduate studies in civil engineering and spent time working in Madrid, Spain, for the Infrastructure Developer, Cintra.
Sam spent the summer of 2009 in Korogwe, Tanzania, with Jesse and is currently working on Phase II of the Korogwe Project. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in 2010, with a degree in African History and Literature. He studied Swahili for four years. Sam is from Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Jenny became interested in food and water issues through her undergraduate studies. She graduated magna cum laude with a double major in Anthropology and Chemistry from Emory University. Jenny's recent travels and research have taken her to Mali, Bangladesh, China, and southern Africa, where she spent a semester studying in Cape Town, South Africa and visiting nearby countries.
Julia grew up around the world in the U.S., Germany, and Japan because of her dad's Navy background, and has always had an interest in working internationally. She graduated from Harvard in 2010 with a degree in Biological Anthropology, Romance Languages, and Mind Brain and Behavior, and also traveled to Honduras, Paris, and Tokyo during her time in college. She would like to go into medicine or fine art after 2seeds with an emphasis on global development, but is ultimately undecided. She is currently studying Swahili and is from Chicago, Illinois.