Africa Business Communities
[Tanzania] SourceTrace connects 5,000 vanilla farmers to new markets

[Tanzania] SourceTrace connects 5,000 vanilla farmers to new markets

SourceTrace, a player in digital innovations in the agriculture and allied segment, is extending its farm management solution to Natural Extracts Industries Ltd (NEI), based in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania, thus supporting the income security of 5,000 vanilla farmers.

As a company engaged in the production of premium flavouring ingredients, its high standards and eco-friendly methods have helped the products reach a global network, according to a press release issued by the company. Today it is delivered to specialty manufacturers, gourmet restaurants and home chefs in the US, Europe, Asia and Africa. This includes its main product line - vanilla pods and extracts.

To strengthen its supply chain management information system, NEI was looking for a solution to manage its entire field operations. While the company provides agronomic training to farmers, SourceTrace’s Datagreen platform has been deployed to uphold the entire data management system owing to its capability to transact and transmit data from remote areas, streamlining the processes at field level. 

These processes include multiple digital operations like farmer profiling, distribution of agricultural inputs, field monitoring, yield estimation, pest and disease management, procurement and scheduling of training programmes.  

“SourceTrace solutions are a one-stop destination for all of NEI’s supply chain management information systems, monitoring and evaluation, procurement and payment tracking, organic certification, as well as scheduling of training programmes. Achieving our high standards has become possible with a solution that is simple and user-friendly, robust and seamlessly fulfils all our farmer management-related requirements,” says Juan Guardado, MD, Natural Extracts Industries Ltd.  

In the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania, where three-fourths of the population comprises smallholder farmers, they had not been growing vanilla until a few years ago. Most of the local farmers grew coffee and banana, but suffered from a high level of income insecurity when global coffee prices plummeted and abundant harvest of banana brought down corresponding demand and prices.

A growing population also fragmented the land holdings, reaching a point where the income from a one-acre farm had to support a family of five. The farmer’s average annual income hit a plateau at roughly $500 a year. That’s when NEI’s dedicated team of agricultural experts decided to develop groups of farmers to grow a premium crop like vanilla, adding value to their farm and helping raise incomes, thus providing these communities with a more diversified income base, sustained by NEI’s access to markets. NEI provided the technical guidance, inputs and best practices, while its team of food technologists and business management personnel helped turn these flavours into premium flavour ingredients with a global reach.

“The delicately-produced flavours are now travelling the world, satisfying the global demand for sustainably-sourced natural flavours. We are pleased to help streamline the farm operations of NEI that support the income security of smallholder vanilla farmers across five regions of Tanzania, and support their expansion into Uganda,” adds Venkat Maroju, CEO of SourceTrace.


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