Meet Nuru Mohammed Vuai
Southeast of the island of Unguja and closest to the shores of the Indian Ocean, is a famous village called Bwejuu. Bwejuu is located in the Dongwe ward, and it is estimated to have a population of about 1,500. Most of the residents in this area support their livelihood through various economic activities like agriculture, fisheries, and businesses derived from beach tourism activities. Beach tourism in particular provides many opportunities for local citizens, especially farmers. Realizing the importance of beach tourism for economic development, the Feed the Future Tanzania Mboga na Matunda (FTFT-MnM) activity supports beneficiaries, including smallholders, to engage and utilize various offerings such as crop production trainings, market linkages (including tourist hotels market opportunities), credit and financial services, food processing, and other value-added services. This support from the activity’s capacity-building programs has enabled farmers to acquire new crop production knowledge, helping them to improve productivity, learn a new way of doing farming activities, and access profitable markets as well as credit and finance for growing their farming businesses.
Nuru Mohammed Vuai (32), a beneficiary in the Bwejuu village, has engaged in horticultural crop production through the activity to help sell his products to hotels, as well as access finance to grow his farming venture.
"Before, it was quite difficult for me to believe that I could make a living by farming vegetables,” said Mr. Vuai.
When he started working with the activity in early 2020, the Government Extension Officer (GEO) initiative was gaining traction in his area. The activity connected him to GEO Twalah Hassan Simba, who was empowered to support smallholders in his village. With his support, Mr. Vuai grew onions on a half-acre plot that earned him 8 million shillings, a profit of 5.5 million shillings after accounting for his 2.5-million-shilling investment. Later on, he used the money to expand his business by hiring an extra 1.5 acres of land populated with a variety of crops, including tomato, zucchini, and butternut, all irrigated using solar-powered drip irrigation systems.
"I never earned this much from my previous job as a mechanic and welder; Sometimes I was not paid on time, or even paid at all," said Nuru.
Inspired by the assistance he received, Nuru became one of a few select farmers trained to work as an aggregator in his local village. The activity works with aggregators to build their capacity in data collection and farming services linkages, including extension services, inputs accessibility, markets, and agriculture finance services.
Thus far, Nuru has successfully linked 18 farmers with loans from Tanzania Growth Trust (TGT) worth 22 million shillings, and 15 additional farmers will soon have access to a similar service. Currently, Nuru receives a commission of 5,000 TZS for each farmer who receives a loan, and this commission amount may increase in the future. Through Nuru's aggregation methods, he has been able to successfully help a major input seller establish an input shop in Bwejuu village, helping to facilitate access to inputs. Overall, Nuru has also helped his fellow farmers make joint sales of products worth more than 200 million shillings to various buyers, including hotels in Zanzibar.