Tanzanian Organic Agriculture Movement
Tanzania Organic Agriculture Movement (TOAM) is a registered NGO formed in 2005 under the NGO Act of 2002. We are an umbrella organization that coordinates and promotes the development of organic farming among farmers, distributors and consumers through networking and information distribution. TOAM sees development of the organic farming sector as a crucial factor for sustainable livelihoods and envisions establishing a vibrant, sustainable and mutually beneficial organic sector in Tanzania.
Our 115 members include various types of institutions and organizations such as farmers associations and cooperatives, NGOs, organic operators, companies, distributors, researchers and trainers. TOAM provides and distributes information on organic food to its members and other stakeholders in the whole of Tanzania.
Vision – Mission - Strategy
Vision: TOAM envisions to establish a vibrant, sustainable, and mutually beneficial organic sector in Tanzania.
Mission: TOAM exists to provide capacity building on organic practices, quality management for compliance to organic standards, improvement to value chains, lobbying and advocating for supportive policies, and information collection and distribution.
Strategy: TOAM implements projects with partners to reach out and support smallholder farmers in improving their livelihoods and adapting to climate change while conserving the environment and biodiversity
TOAM Thematic Areas of Intervention
Food, nutrition & health.TOAM work in to increase awareness of food consumers on health benefits of organic foods. It is through this work TOAM want to contribute on increase in consumption and demand for organic foods.
Food and Seed Sovereignty Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their rights to define their own food and farming systems. Seed sovereignty is about farmers, seed keepers, peasants, and other food producers having the capacity and right to save, grow, sell and share their seeds. Through this area of work TOAM empowers smallholder farmers to take control of their seed security and take back control over their food systems. It is about forging a path toward a socially just, ecologically sane and sovereign future. It involves encouraging stakeholders to influence policy makers and the corporate sector to forge seed and food sovereignty into the profit driven model of agriculture rather than compromising it.
Environment, climate change and biodiversity. This is the area of work through which TOAM promote the relevance of Organic Agriculture on environmental management, climate change mitigation and biodiversity conservation. It is about demonstrating that despite the apparent evidence for lower yields in organic crop systems than conventional systems, there is considerable evidence of positive influence and advantages of organic farming on environment, climate change and biodiversity. TOAM raises the awareness of stakeholders on principles of Organic farming which are based on co-existence with natural systems, minimization of pollution and damage to the environment, and the promotion of the health of soil, plant and animal to produce healthy food with high standards of animal welfare and respect for the wider social and ecological impacts of the agricultural system. Given these advantages and benefits, TOAM promotes organic agriculture systems calling for increased investment in organic and ecologically based cropping systems, research and extension.
Gender & youth empowerment. Organic agriculture supports gender equality because it makes the women's contribution more visible, offer economic opportunities, supports health, encourages biodiversity and traditional knowledge, and ensures equitable work standards. Through this area of work TOAM promotes recognition of women as traditional and socially endowed custodians of indigenous knowledge of organic farming principles and practices and utilization of food. It is about fostering gender equitable access and benefits of organic value chains outcomes by empowering women and youth on decision making and control on organic farming systems and utilization. Embracing and supporting the growing attitudes, confidence and aspirations of women and youth to take the opportunities and engage in SMEs (small and medium processing industries) for value addition of organic commodities
Farm productivity and profitability (soil fertility, pest and disease management and post-harvest handling) Productivity or yield comparison between organic and conventional agriculture systems is a major debate in the quest to choose which of the two systems can sustainably feed the world. Rather than engaging in such a debate, TOAM generates evidence on how, where and through which value chains, organic farming can offer alternative sustainable livelihoods strategies.
Market access and value chain development. TOAM promotes and supports market access for organic commodities to premium market outlets. This involves establishment of connections between suppliers and consumers, encouraging aggregation of small holder producers and processors to meet market demand requirements and economies of scale. TOAM takes custodianship of branding and certification ensuring visibility, recognition, and credibility of organic commodities in the market.
Campaign and advocacy. TOAM is a forum of stakeholders in the organic sector. It creates platforms for larger and louder voices for influencing policy makers and practitioners on adoption of best practices in the organic sector. TOAM leads the movement of stakeholders for identification and utilizing every possible opportunity for scaling up the growth and impacts of the organic sector.
Approach and Methodology
TOAM uses the Value Chain Development Approach to foster economic growth with poverty reduction through involvement of large numbers of small holder farmers. Farmers are trained on the structures, systems and relationships that define the value chain. TOAM helps to improve or upgrade their products and processes, to access and develop domestic and international markets and enhance trade and quality of organic products. As a consequence smallholder farmers are able to raise their level of income, create wealth and escape poverty. TOAM plays a facilitator role to the value chain actors by establishing linkages and building the capacity for the value chain to operate sustainably.
TOAM recognizes and is determined to work toward enhancing public and private partnerships for both continuity and sustainability. The quality of relationships between different stakeholders is a key factor influencing the functioning of a value chain. Strong, mutually beneficial relationships between stakeholders facilitate the transfer of information, skills and services. Therefore TOAM collaborates with members and various stakeholders such as public research and training institutions, local government agencies, private companies, processors, farmers associations and cooperatives, other nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and faith based organizations (FBOs).