More money to farmers
The founders of Kokoa Kamili have spent most of our professional careers in international development. Over the course of our work we became frustrated with the top-down approach of many organisations. We decided that the most direct form of benefit for the communities we work with would be to pay high prices for their produce. Farmers are then able to decide for themselves on the best use of this extra income, whether it be upgrading their roofs, sending their children to a better school, saving for a rainy day, or simply enjoying a little more spending money. Since we began operations we have paid the highest prices for cocoa in Tanzania.
Since 2015 we have grown and distributed 100,330 cocoa seedlings to farmers. 23,444 of these seedlings were given away as a sign of appreciation to our farmers, and as donations to the local schools and orphanages. The remaining 76,886 were sold below cost for the rough equivalent of $0.05 a seedling. We charged for these seedlings based on the recommendation of village leaders who said that by doing so, we would ensure that farmers would only take as many seedlings as they had sufficient time and resources to tend.
We continue to improve our nursery operations both with more scientific tree selection for propagation and by adapting our planting protocols to ensure the best quality seedlings are grown.
In 2015 we were excited to welcome Elisante Mntambwe to our staff. Elisante is a 'Bwana Shamba' - an agricultural extension field officer with specific training on cocoa agronomy. Since Elisante came on board he's been busy working directly with our farmers on their plots, troubleshooting issues that they face, and providing training on Good Agronomy Practices to help increase both the yields and the quality of cocoa they grow. We've also partnered with an NGO to provide training in Farmer Field Schools to make sure we can educate larger numbers of farmers on some of the basics.