Reaching farmers – how Joyce Iponja is helping to empower cocoa growers in Tanzania
To extend its distribution network, Biolands is involving people from local communities. One of them is 32-year-old Joyce Iponja. She has trained as a senior nursery assistant at Biolands’ nursery in Kyela and now belongs to a dedicated team that visits farmers. The team not only supplies seedlings from the nursery but also shares valuable know-how on how to best plant and care for the seedlings – including aspects such as spacing, shade and irrigation.
Like Joyce Iponja, most of the distributors come from local farming communities and families in Kyela, and they have been working in Biolands nurseries for a number of years. Their participation in the seedling distribution program provides them with an additional source of income.
As the distribution team also aims to reach out to cocoa farms in areas that cannot be reached by car a wheeled handcart has been constructed at Biolands to facilitate this process. The cart can transport up to 200 young plants at a time and is helping to improve access to cocoa seedlings – particularly for elderly farmers who are less mobile.