Customers buy Tanzanian-grown leafy vegetables at the WFP Farmers Market. Copyright: Osse Greca Sinare.
In May 2013, WFP Tanzania sponsored its first Farmers’ Market in Dar es Salaam, featuring more than 15 vendors from around the country.
A second market took place on Saturday 8 June, with more than 22 vendors participating and more than 400 visitors attending.
WFP, in collaboration with the Dar es Salaam-based Italian NGO CEFA, launched the market to mobilize the urban community around the concept of slow food and local production.
“We wanted to create greater links between Tanzanian vendors, farmers and suppliers, and the local and expat communities," said WFP Country Director Richard Ragan. "The response has been beyond what we expected - vendors can access new business opportunities; customers have a fantastic selection of goods they didn’t know were available right here in the city."
Freda Chale runs an urban farming group of 20 retired Tanzanian women who got together six years ago to revive the almost-lost culture of eating foods and vegetables indigenous to Tanzania.
“Our vision is to improve food security in households around the country, therefore helping to alleviate malnutrition and poverty in Tanzania,” Freda explained. The group, RESEWO (Regent Estate Senior Women’s Group), has a garden plot and office in Dar es Salaam from where they make their sales and also provide deliveries to local restaurants.
“On a [normal] busy day we can make 20,000 to 40,000 Tanzanian shillings [US$12 to $24],” says Freda. “So we were excited to participate when we heard about the Farmers’ Market."
The market exceeded their expectations.
“At the first market we earned 450,000 shillings [US$277], and at the second 220,000 shillings [US$135] which is more than we have ever made selling from our office. We sold a lot of recipe books, telling people how to identify and what to do with indigenous plants, tea made from plants and vegetables we grow, and a lot of healthy green, leafy vegetables such as Malabar spinach, blackjack, and black nightshade - grown right here in Dar es Salaam but of which most people are not even aware."
Lidya Jacop, leader of UPENDO food processors based in Kisarawe who specialize in dried fruits, honey, and cassava and millet flour, said they met a lot of people at the first market who came back to place orders for their products at the second market, and were even approached with another business opportunity.
“We met someone from an organization asking us to provide training on fruit drying. This was an unexpected and very exciting opportunity for us,” Lidya said.
Both Freda and Lidya look forward to taking part in the next market in August. “This gave us a great opportunity to show our products to people who have never heard of us,” said Freda. “Also, having the chance to meet so many other Tanzanian vendors really opened my eyes to what the country has to offer."
For more information on the Farmers Market contact: Fizza.Moloo@wfp.org