Village based processing of organic spices

Young farmers in North East Tanzania are professionalizing spice farming, earning good incomes and conserving the environment.

Photo of Marg Leijdens
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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

GFP Organics Ltd

Year founded


Initiative stage

  • Scaling (the solution has passed the previous stages and is growing its impact on a regional or global scale)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $1mil - $5mil

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 5,000 - 10,000

Organization type

  • Social enterprise

Headquarters location: Country

  • Tanzania

Headquarters location: City


Location(s) of impact

Tanzania: Muheza District, 8 villages


Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

The problem being addressed is the low income and poor living standards of small holder farmers in the project area. Young farmers are not motivated to start farming. However, farmers grow high value spices (e.g. black pepper, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon) but they are exploited by spot market traders who pay low prices and have no long term view. They also don’t care for the community. The result is that the potential of the crops is not optimized, no extra value of the crop is created at the farms.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

1) The activities from processing up to export are made visible for the farmers by bringing it close by. Processing and storage facilities have been built in a central village. The farmers feel part and feel proud about their crops. 2) The GFP director and staff are building relationships with the farmers, they are present at the processing grounds and visit the farmers. GFP supports the communities (e.g. youth football, building school toilets and installing water supply systems). 3) The farmers are contracted in an organic production management system. They receive training and farm visits. They receive significantly better prices. The training and good income is an incentive for young farmers to start farming. 4) Long term market linkages have been established with organic buyers, who are interested in the source of the produce and pay visits to the farmers. This proves to the farmers that they are valued and connected to the world, this motivates young farmer to stay and farm.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

• Social impact is that farmers feel proud. Average incomes have increased significantly: from 80 $/yr in 2007 to 1160 $/yr in 2017 (14.5 fold increase). Farmers build new houses, are able to pay school fees, etc. • The number of farmers in the project has increased from 166 in 2006 up to 619 in 2017. The number of young farmers (up to 25 year) has increased from 2 (1.2%) in 2006 up to 150 (24.2 %) in 2017. • Young farmers realize that farming is a business and start new farms from scratch. They farm professionally. • Productivity has increased: In 2007 GFP purchased 8,8 tons of spices. In 2017 the quantity was 1.584.052 tons (80 times as much). • The number of products purchased by GFP has increased, farmers can sell more crops. From four crops in 2007, there is a market for seven types of crops by now. . Tree planting is part of spice farming, soils are protected by tree cover and contour planting. • GFP is expanding to a new region (Morogoro). See attachment.

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

The long term financial sustainability is ensured by selling spices. The diversity of crops reduces the vulnerability to market and weather fluctuations. The project has been supported as follows: • 2006-2010, SIDA assisted USD 40,000 for development of the organic export activities. • 2010, ADF awarded the project USD 85,403 for purchasing a spice drier, a spice grinding mill and implementing a HACCP (Food safety) system. • 2011, Cordaid of the Netherlands supported the project EURO 43,390 for capacity building. At present GFP receives an annually renewable loan as a trade finance from Root Capital Inc of USA. The % of our present annual budget per source: 1. Individual donations or gifts 0% 2. Grants - 0% 3. Corporate contributions - 0% 4. Earned income - 80% 5. Other - 20%

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

The innovation is bringing processing and export activities close to the farmers: The processing plant is established in the village, the community is included. Villagers feel proud about their crops and the export. GFP differs from other traders because both the director and staff build relationships with farmers. They are regularly staying for a longer period in the processing grounds, also visitors stay overnight in the same place during their visits. Farmers feel respected.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

By Cleopa Ayo, director of GFP Organics: I was born on the slopes of Mount Meru, Arusha, 55 years ago, where my love for forest and nature started. I studied forestry and as students we were taken on a trip around Tanzania, in which we visited the Usambara mountains. At that time I fell in love with the area. I saw for the first time in my pears and apple trees. The people were very welcoming, they allowed us to pick as many fruits as we could eat. I always remembered Usambara with its natural richness and friendly people. 20 years later - being a producer of peanut butter and jams, in cooperation with my wife - the ‘Aha’ moment occurred: I got a chance to re-start organic spice exports from Usambara. I did not need time to think, I knew the potential and wanted to help the young people move forward. So today we all pick the fruits of hard work, as we picked the pears in former days.

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Other


Join the conversation:

Photo of yusuff wasiu adekunle

Waoo, I really love your Idea. I will be very glad if you can extend your idea to Nigeria farmers in future.

Photo of Marg Leijdens

Thank you Yussuff,
We would be glad to come to Nigeria! But I think that you or other people can do this in Nigeria, for crops that are grown by your farmers. As long as the processor sets up the facilities close to the farmers, makes them feel part of the processing business. And as long as there is perseverance, because it does take time. I was thinking that perseverance might be the innovative aspect of our project, because these days people look for quick solutions, but these hardly exist to my opinion.

Photo of yusuff wasiu adekunle

nice one, my mail is, I will be glad to have your as a partner in future.

Photo of Marg Leijdens

Thank you Yussuff, but you or your fellow entrepreneurs will have to do it!

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