Vendor shares recipes on how to cook with indigenous plants
Copyright: Osse Greca Sinare
In June 2013, WFP, in collaboration with Dar es Salaam-based Italian NGO CEFA, launched an initiative to mobilize the urban community around local food production. One year on and the Oysterbay Farmers Market has become a regular feature of Dar es Salaam life. Some 25 vendors set up stalls on the last Saturday of every month, selling fruit and vegetables, pastries, chocolate, coffee and cheese in an open-air courtyard next to the ocean. All the goods are produced in Tanzania and come from as nearby as the city centre, and from as far as Moshi, at the foot of Mt Kilimanjaro.
“We wanted a way to highlight the work that we are doing - that is, working with farmers in the Tanga region on food and income security and conducting business training,” says Sophie Hollingsworth of the 2Seeds Network, who has been a vendor at the market since November 2013. “The market has been a fabulous option for our farmers. Not only are our farmers increasing their profits, but through this market we’ve made connections with agricultural specialists who have been able to help certain projects that we’re involved in.”
Tsegga Seyoum, who runs baked goods company Baked by Mama, usually sells her products right out of her house in Dar es Salaam. She has been attending the farmers market since its establishment, and says it has been an excellent opportunity to introduce her food to a new audience.
Fellow entrepreneur Agness Mwanjisi, who runs the processing business Nanaga Food Products, believes it is not only good for the vendors, but also for the customers.
“I joined not only to expand my business but also to create awareness about natural foods that are available right here in Dar es Salaam,” she says. “Now I’m seeing local and international people start to realize the value of natural and safe foods and buy them.”
While Tanzania is widely known for producing fresh vegetables and fruit and staples such as maize, many inhabitants have not discovered what else the country has to offer. Around the country, products such as cheese, wine, chocolate and coffee, which appeal to both an international and local audience, are becoming increasingly available.
“We wanted to create greater links between Tanzanian vendors, farmers and suppliers, and the local and expat communities," says WFP Country Director Richard Ragan. "The response has been beyond what we expected - vendors can access new business opportunities and customers have a fantastic selection of goods they didn’t know were available right here in the city."