With the ever-growing threat of climate change on agriculture affecting temperatures, rainfall, pests and diseases on crops it is essential to find innovative ways to ensure food security through innovative and climate-smart agricultural practices.
In 2019, IUCN Netherlands in partnership with SAGCOT Centre Ltd and the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Tanzania sought to find innovative climate-smart agribusiness proposals through the Mobilise More (MoMo) 4 Climate Awards.
The MoMo 4 Climate Tanzania is a climate business plan challenge that seeks projects in Tanzania that contribute to climate change adaptation or mitigation in land use. This is by means of agriculture, water, forestry, recycling, waste management or nature conservation, in the Southern Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT). The most compelling climate-smart business plan walks away with a € 25,000 (Tsh 66,000,000) grant award.
The MoMo challenge, as it is fondly referred to, has been conducted in Europe and South East Asia successfully supporting promising climate-smart businesses across these regions. The Tanzanian challenge was launched in 2018 with a call for proposals that saw over 50 proposals submitted from across Tanzania.
After a rigorous vetting process, five of the most promising business proposals were shortlisted. The 5 entrepreneurs showcased various kinds of business proposals on Tuesday 5 March 2019. There were several interesting proposals.
Fuljensia Kapama, one of the finalists, is the Director of the Katavi Women Development Organisation (KAWDEO) encourages smallholder women, farmers, to shift from tobacco to cashew farming which has less impact on the soil nutrition and depletion of forest cover associated with tobacco farming.
Charles Yobwa, of Hade, recycles vehicle tyres to manufacture 280 sandals and furniture with hopes of increasing production and repurposing 11,232 tyres annually.
Christian Mwijage, EcoAct Tanzania, runs a very interesting business model, offering medical insurance to disadvantaged communities in exchange for the garbage they provide in the form of disposing of plastic. In exchange, EcoAct recycles the plastic to chemical free plastic timber which is used in fencing, road signage, furniture development with potential for other uses reducing over-reliance on conventional timber inadvertently conserving the environment.
The vetting process, the judges admit was very difficult with the compelling business cases; Romie Goedicke, IUCN Netherlands, Senior Expert and judge states, “we can only combat climate change by bringing together all stakeholders, mentoring and grooming business cases that can ensure more capital flows to support sustainable landscape development, that meets the demand of all stakeholders. “
John Nakei, another judge and SAGCOT Centre Ltd, Environmental Specialist pointed out, “MoMo was excellent, and it demonstrates the need for more agriprenuers, to integrate climate change concepts in their agribusiness business plans.”
The winning proposal was Brik Premier Agriculture, lead by Shukrani Biseko and Ronald Kato. Their business model employed the beekeeping and crop farming integration of avocado and beans, in Iringa. The business plan spelt out the involvement of smallholder farmers as shareholders of the investment, equivalent to their land value with beehives employed in all avocado plantations. And beans as an additional crop to meet current growing local and regional market demands.
Avocado trees presence serves as an economically viable way for reforestation in addition to bee pollination which improves food productivity. 30% of all food produced is reliant on bee pollination. Brik’s business model will also invest in soil less nursery innovation which minimises the use of polythene bags used mostly to hold the soil during the process. This further significantly reduces the consumption of water.
Biseko pointed out in his presentation, “prices in Tanzania of the Hass avocado has been increasing at an annual average rate of $100USD per tonne for the past 10 years. The prices are projected to skyrocket for reasonably long in the future.”
He also pointed out that the Tanzania harvest time from the highlands regions is well situated against the slump in production in the world markets giving Tanzania an added advantage. Birk is currently running an initial demonstration plot on 100 acres of land acquired in 2018. They hope to expand to 1,000 acres in the next 5 years.
Christian Mwijage, EcoAct Tanzania, one of the top 5 finalists states, “the competition was good for me, it was a good and challenging experience, from the beginning the recruitment and training from Hessel, our pitching coach guided me on how to make my pitch more appealing.” Mwijage didn’t win the MoMo challenge but what he learnt is opening him to new opportunities. Mwijage has been approached to pitch his business concept in a European business competition.
The announcement of the winner of the inaugural MoMo 4 Climate challenge Tanzania at the Dutch Ambassador to Tanzania’s residence in Dar es Salaam; by the Ambassador, His Excellency Jereon Verheul.
Biseko and Kato gleefully held on to their dummy cheque emblazoned with €25,000 prize money. Biseko reiterated their commitment to “establish soil-less nursery of at least 5,000 seedlings and expand existing operations by at least 50 acres initially.”
For more information and details on the various business proposals click here.