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Georgina Haigh reports on agri-tour in Tanzania

Published on 19th February 2015

Tanzania Agri-Tour Group Photo

Georgina HaighGuild member Georgina Haigh visited smallholders, agricultural businesses and rural organisations in Tanzania as the Guild's nominated candidate for the IFAJ/Agriterra 2014 Exposure-4-Development media tour.

She successfully secured one of just 15 places on the trip, organised for the IFAJ by Agriterra, a Dutch organisation for international agricultural cooperation.

Georgina, who is an arable reporter on Farmers Guardian, has written two articles for the newspaper.

"One article was about the Tanzanian Masai tribe, which we were lucky enough to meet and visit," she explains. "The other was an in-depth round-up of arable farming in Tanzania, which was particularly interesting for me as an arable reporter."

IFAJ Agriterra Tanzania - FG

Much time during the trip was spent on the the road with delegates from 12 different countries, says Georgina.

"My flight happened to arrive in the early hours of the morning, so I was trying to catch glimpses of Tanzania as we rattled along in the Kiboko Lodge Land Rover to our accommodation," she says.

The next day included a guided walk around the local village.

"It was interesting to see how most houses had their own small bit of land, with the majority growing maize. Most houses also have their own livestock - be it a goat or a cow, and chickens," Georgina recalls. "During our walk we happened to pass a Tanzanian equivalent of a pub, but what was really a small shed, with a large seating area outside.

"The 'bar' served home brew - made by the landlady from maize - and the classic banana beer. We all sampled both brews, which were acquired tastes, and were invited to look at the pub's own livestock."

Agriterra correspondent Alex Danissen, who has lived in Tanzania for the past 14 years, organised the bulk of the packed seven-day programme with Josephine Van Gelder.

Georgina says: "The best part of the trip was visiting local farmers and companies, such as Food Quality Products, which have been set up by businessmen and women to increase the productivity of Tanzanian agriculture."

Visiting the Women's Dairy Cooperative was the most enjoyable and heart-warming visit of the whole week, she adds.

IFAJ Agriterra Tanzania - Georgina Haigh

"We got off our battered minibus to singing and dancing, all receiving boutonnieres and coming away with beautiful shawls," says Georgina. "The ladies of the cooperative were so pleased to see us, and honoured that a group of tourists would want to visit them.

"They catered for us, sang and danced and showed us around their facilities. The visit was truly memorable, and very touching."

Women bring their milk twice a day to the Marukeni dairy cooperative HQ, where it is all stored together and made into cheese or yoghurt. The cooperative was formed in 1997 with the aim of marketing milk better.

Most farmers keep only a couple of cows and do not produce enough milk to market if they tried to do so alone. Working together with other producers means farmers have enough dairy products to sell to hotels and other larger businesses in Moshi city.

Other delegates on the trip came from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, South-Africa, Sweden and Switzerland.

"I met some really interesting people, and spent the week with a fun, and lovely group, which made it so much better," says Georgina. "I'd like to thank them all for making it so much fun - and the Agriterra team for putting on such a great programme on behalf of the IFAJ."

Read Georgina's Masai cattle farming article here.

Read Georgina's arable farming article page 1 / page 2.

Posted by Johann Tasker

The IFAJ/Agriterra E-4-D Media Tour 2015 is to Zambia - and taking place much earlier this year, in May, with a March 6 deadline for applications. Full details here.

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