Kilimo Markets is a registered private company in Tanzania to facilitate training small farmers in Conservation Agriculture (CA) that helps farmers become more resilient with Climate Change. The focus is on improved soil and water management through zero/minimum-tillage, continuous vegetative soil cover and cereal-legume crop rotations. The outcome is a sustained increase in crop production by upto 200% and a reduction in costs of production with a system of CA tillage that is replicable and scalable in semi-arid rain-dependent farming areas of Tanzania. Kilimo Markets Brokerage business complements CA training by linking small farmers to market the surplus gains and complements the Kilimo Markets Seed Growers business by increasing production of quality certified seed using CA technology.
Kilimo Markets Conservation Agriculture Services:
• Sensitising communities of farmers on opportunities & technology of CA farming
• Facilitate contracts with partner companies with experience & skills in contract-CA farming at commercial field scale
• Training of farmers in CA technology,
• Introduce diversity in value chains giving farmers more options and less risk in Climate Change
• Set up Farmer Field Schools as means of training farmers using field scale tractor zero-till planting demonstrations
• Facilitate links to National Agriculture Research Stations and Africa Conservation Tillage (ACT) network for technical oversight
• Set up contract-CA farming with tractors & zero-till planters and herbicide spray booms
• Link the CA-tillage to Kilimo Markets Seed and Brokering businesses for synergistic advantages
Key Achievements (since July 2010):
1. 40 established and trained FMAs registered as private companies with a membership of about 10,000,
2. Kilimo Markets has marketed >1900 tons of grain legumes generating >USD892,000 turn-over and >USD700,000 gross income to 3,000 farmers,
3. Kilimo Markets has produced >7 tons of certified seed of improved varieties of legumes from 165 seed growers,
4. KMCA has established 84 acres of zero-till crops as field scale demonstrations in Karatu, Northern Tanzania and has close links to a private company contract farming with zero-till planters for >1200 farmers on 26,000 acres, with whom there are opportunities for collaboration,
5. KMCA has established close links with a private company that commercially produces zero-till planters with Australian components in Tanzania,
6. KMCA is networking with National Coordinator and scientists for CA in Tanzania located at the Northern Zone Regional Research Station.
The Problem Kilimo Markets Conservation Agriculture Addresses:
Efficiency of rainfall use by farmers is poor on a widespread scale with 96% run-off and only 4% infiltration. Results are low productivity, subsistence and vulnerable crop production made worse by relentless decline in soil fertility caused by traditional practice of soil inversion with ploughs. Added to these, Climate Change increases unpredictability, frequency and intensity of droughts that intensify unproductivity and risk of African farming.
The Kilimo Markets Conservation Agriculture Advantage:
• KMCA increases crop productivity with immediate impact that increases in the longer-term that can be sustained.
• Farmers are trained to form Farmers Marketing Associations (FMAs) that help organize the revolution in farming practice that CA demands.
• FMAs can organize and manage efficient contract-farming to establish CA at community-wide scale.
• KMCA arranges CA contract-farming with existing private companies with all the skills and experience required to establish mechanized CA at scale.
• KMCA links this CA technology to its Seed and Marketing businesses with the FMAs improving access to seed, crop productivity, commercial opportunities and diversity of value chains for small farmers.
• CA farming as members of FMAs reduces vulnerability and risk and increases capacity to be resilient with Climate Change.