David Sanga is a 65 year old resident of the Mbingu Village in the Kilombero District in Tanzania. David has been a cocoa farmer for more than ten years. Before Kokoa Kamili (KK) appeared in Mbingu David sold his cocoa harvest to ‘Mocoa’, an organic cocoa out-growers association. As there was little competition for his produce, prices were determined by Mocoa and were non-negotiable. With little information on real market prices and the additional expense of having to take his produce to ‘buyer’ collection points, his farming business was a subsistence exercise characterised by insecurity and hardship, especially during the dry season when there was little to sell.
When Kokoa Kamili begun their project in September 2014 in Mbingu, they introduced a healthy element of competition offering not only significantly higher prices for a better grade of cocoa but a collection service for ‘wet’ cocoa, at no extra charge. This additional service had not been an option before, but it not only simplified the process of getting his cocoa to market, but also significantly reduced his costs and the time spent organising sales.
The Sanga family had also been growing rice, maize and bananas on their small-holding, production having been expanded over the past five years to cover three plots in Mbingu. David also produces a wide range of fruits and vegetables to support the dietary needs of his family. Aside from the competitive purchase price and collection facilities offered by Kokoa Kamili, David says “Kokoa Kamili’s offer of training and technical assistance have helped me to improve my average yields by approximately 10% over the past three seasons, with my overall income up by 30%. This has allowed me to improve the livelihood of my family and begin construction of a new house for them.”
David adds that information on pruning, weeding, crop and soil maintenance has probably been the most significant contributor to increased yields; and, he has taken advantage of Kokoa Kamili’s offer of well-nurtured seedlings, costing a very affordable Tsh. 100, while he has also received others as free as a bonus for being a reliable supplier of bulk cocoa.
In 2015, David purchased 300 seedlings and acquired 200 for free; partly on the basis of his sales performance to Kokoa Kamili and partly on the basis that Kokoa Kamili could see he was a committed and serious supplier of ‘wet’ cocoa to Kokoa Kamili. In 2016, David hopes to purchase 800 seedlings from Kokoa Kamili, but hopes that they will reward him with some free plants for his reliable production performance over the last (2015) season.
As it takes three years for seedlings to grow to a state of crop production and he currently has over 1,200 trees spread over two of his farming plots, David envisages expanding his stock of productive trees to a total of 2,000 within the next 12 months. The 800 seedlings he will purchase this year will all be planted on his 3rd farm plot that is presently fallow.
David estimates that he derives approximately 6 to 8 kg of wet cocoa per mature tree per season. With cocoa prices now higher than they were before Kokoa Kamili arrived in Mbingu David has managed to support his three children through their higher education. With his eldest son working as a doctor in Iringa; his middle son, an engineer, based in Dar es Salaam; and, his youngest, a daughter, working as a primary school teacher working in Ifakara, his farming activities have bourne fruit in more ways than one.
TRAC-LIFT Marketing & Communications Team – Thursday 25th February 2016
Venue: Mbingu Village, Kilombero District, Tanzania