MVIWATA members in Zanzibar requested for a practical training on different agronomic practices required for spices production. After receiving these request, MVIWATA carried out an assessment exercise of identifying their exact needs on spice production. The assessment was carried out to sixty-four (64) members in which thirty-four (34) were men and thirty (30) were women.
The main objective of the assessments was to determine the needs of trainings by MVIWATA members of which are smallholder farmers on spice production. Specifically, the assessment intended to achieve the following objectives, to identify current status of spice crops in relation to production and yield per area, to examine practices of spice farming among smallholder farmers, to examine smallholder farmers’ knowledge on the farming practices on spice production, to examine spices production and productivity of an area, to access the contribution of spice farming to livelihood outcomes of smallholder farmers, to assess group’s organization focusing on membership status and women participation.
The assessments were carried out in five (5) local level networks from Unguja and Pemba of which Bumbwini, Mpapa Mwendapole and Kizimbani local level networks were from Unguja and Mtambwe kaskazini and Tujiunge farmers’ groups were from Pemba Island. These 5 local level networks have a total population of 1042 members in which 751 are women and 291 males.
The assessment carried out observed a number of challenges facing smallholder farmers’ producers of spices in Zanzibar, these includes, low level of knowledge on nursery preparation, poor understanding on selection of planting materials, low knowledge of harvesting their produces, lack of marketing skills on their produces.
It was also realized that the most trainings needed to spice producers in Zanzibar are on plant preparation, seed selection and farm management on the following spices, Cardamom, Black pepper, Cloves, Vanilla, Cinnamon and Ginger.
The assessment also recommended the provision of practical trainings on nursery preparation, seed selection, selection of planting materials, quality control and post-harvest handling techniques (drying, sorting & grading and storage) of spices.
It also recommends a much needed farmer to farmer exchange visits for smallholder farmers to have a practical training on technical production practices and therefore addressing the challenges faced by smallholder spice producers.