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Sophie Tremblay

Commercial Agriculture for Smallholder Farmers in Horticulture Tanzania

Boosting agricultural income and market links in Zanzibar

Poor and marginalised farmers in Zanzibar are producing better quality products, more competitively, in order to earn a greater income, through the "Commercial Agriculture for Smallholder Farmers in Horticulture" (CASH) project.

For every £1 spent the CASH project delivered £4.70 in economic value.

Zanzibar’s growing numbers of hotels and restaurants require a large quantity of high quality produce, but local smallholder famers (predominantly women) are unable to benefit. These farmers are too dependent on erratic rainfall, and their resources and knowledge too limited, to be able to provide a consistent supply of quality fruit and vegetables.

In 2015, VSO volunteers from Tanzania and the UK completed an analysis of the fruit and vegetable value chain in Zanzibar to help these smallholder farmers understand how to derive a reliable income from farming. This analysis led to the creation of the CASH project, designed to:

  • Give farmers the skills to maintain a reliable harvest
  • Support access to more profitable markets
  • Improve access to finance for tools and seeds
Laughing women in Zanzibar | VSO VSO

Sada Juma, who has received training in business skills from a VSO volunteer to help her access the growing tourism market in Zanzibar.

The results

By organising farmers into collectives, they’ve seen increased profits. The amount of fruit and vegetables imported to Zanzibar has also dropped from 80% to 55%.

An independent value for money study found that for every £1 spent on the CASH project, economic value of £4.70 was delivered. The New Economics Foundation described the project as “a viable model for both communities and funders”

The project has also resulted in:

  • Increased farmer confidence from participating in a group scheme
  • Financial autonomy, especially amongst female farmers
  • Market traders purchase higher quality produce at lower cost
  • Inspiring others to take up commercial fruit and vegetable farming




See coverage in Tanzania Daily News - 'VSO helps smallholder farmers increase yield'


cash farmer_Sharji Ameir

“I now have a green house thanks to VSO, we received training and the benefits goes to all farmer members group, the knowledge we obtain is vital for all farmers to apply in their own groups. As lead farmer I transfer this knowledge to my members group”


Sharji Ameir, a smallholder farmer

VSO’s CASH project uses volunteers to train key members of farming communities in modern agricultural techniques, increasing the quality of crops and the produce created. These farmers are then trained to spread the training to even more smallholders.

Training has also been provided in business and accounting skills.

We’ve also supported policy advocacy officers in farmer umbrella organisations like UWAMWIMA. Farmer Umbrella Organisations work to create networks of farmers that create greater overall capacity to meet hotel and restaurant demands, strengthen the national position of smallholders, protect them from market shocks and negotiate prices.

UWAMWIMA also provides a mobile platform delivering market information to farmers, helping them get a fairer price, and start-up capital to invest in irrigation equipment, to help with the erratic rainfall. 

Project locations

Zanzibar North Region (Northern A and Northern B districts), Zanzibar Central/South Region (Central district) and Pemba South Region (Chakechake and Mkoani districts)


CASH is run in partnership with the Tanzanian Ministry of Agriculture and Resource Management, managed by VSO and funded by the European Union.

Our local implementing partners include:

  • UWAMWIMA – Vegetable Farmers Association, supported by the project
  • UWZ – Association of People with Disability, supported by the project
  • KATI – Kizimbani Agriculture Training Institute
  • WEDTF – Women Entrepreneurship Trust Fund
  • JUWA – Zanzibar Farmers’ Union  
  • Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Zanzibar
  • DFSN – Department of Food Security and Nutrition  

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