Helping Farmers move from Sustenance to Sustainability
Feb.07.2018 by WildPlains Foods
If you had to choose between farming – unprotected from the risks of pest infestation, crop damage, low yields & barely any income in hand after harvest, and working as labor – slogging your way through the day, yet assured of getting just enough wages to feed your family, which one would you choose?
Barely a choice!
For many farmers in East Africa, this is a choice they must make on a daily basis. With no alternative source of income, many farmers choose to look to the forest as a source of food and income. They are forced to make the unsustainable choice of hunting the forest for bush meat, fruits and herbs or cutting down trees for selling wood or poaching wildlife. A choice which leads to an unintended yet catastrophic end: deforestation, destruction of natural habitats and extinction of wildlife species.
As a brand conceived & rooted in Africa, with Agriculture & Agri-processing as our forte, it was imminent that we find a way forward for helping the communities and stakeholders we work with. We believe that sustainability lies in the growth of not just an individual or an establishment, but in the holistic growth of the entire community.
To this end, we have been fortunate to partner with the world-renowned Jane Goodall Institute, Tanzania, who, over the last few decades, have been tirelessly working towards conservation and protection of natural resources like the forests and its natural inhabitants. Together we aim to leverage our respective strengths and knowledge to drive impact in Conservation and Community Development.
Farming – besides providing healthy food and generating income for the communities – provides bigger and wider benefits. If done properly, it can benefit in protecting and growing natural habitats and ecosystems, nurturing wildlife, improving soil quality & adding character to the overall landscape.
At Wild Plains Foods, our aim is to enable you, as a customer, to contribute and help farmers adopt a holistic method of farming which is rooted in respecting the fundamentals of nature, is environment friendly & sustainable, and helps the farmers meet their own needs as well as the needs of the communities and customers they serve. The farming practices that we practice & encourage are designed to provide adequate care and space for nature to survive, take its own course and thrive.
As your self-designated “nature ambassadors”, our team has been reaching out to farmer communities across Tanzania, to understand why they have been unable to sustain themselves from their agricultural activities. Most farmers lack awareness and knowledge, face unavailability of funds, seeds, irrigation & market information and often fall prey to predatory bulk traders who coerce and purchase their produce at extremely low prices. Lack of access to capital limits the kind of natural fertilizers and pesticides they can use and propels them towards opportunistic sellers of cheap chemical fertilizers and genetically hybrid and infertile seeds.
Through your support, our ultimate aim is to develop detailed community profiles and establish local cooperatives. Based on fair trade practices we strive to make synergistic sourcing agreements with these cooperatives. These off-take agreements then act as a credible collateral for these communities, and helps them become bank worthy for micro and agri loans, improving their access to capital, raising their life profiles and ultimately moving them away from Sustenance and towards Sustainability.