Dorcas' Story : Success story, training by SUGECO

‘‘Our dream is to have a big industry for jam making which will compete in both national and international markets’’

A 25-year-old Dorcas Dismas is a 2016 graduate in Bachelor of Science in Agriculture General from Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA). After completed her studies, she found herself in the street with no employment or anything to do for about one month. Later on, she decided to join a company that works on distribution of cosmetics. Despite the low salary, she had to use a lot of time to convince customers to buy the products, and to walk long distances looking for the customers.

She decided to leave a job and find another one that will help her get money to fulfill her personal needs. This is when she visited Sokoine University Graduate Entrepreneurs Cooperative (SUGECO) looking for a job. Unfortunately she didn’t get the chance because the organization was not looking for new employee.

On 17 October 2017, she was invited to attend a 3-day training conducted by SUGECO in collaboration with International Trade Centre (ITC) on post harvest management and handling of horticultural produces. The training attended by 30 youth who were the producers and processor of horticultural produces. It is where she learnt on how to make jam, mango pickle, chill sauce and tomato sauce.

After completed the training she formed a group of 6 youths who did not get the opportunity to attend the training. They agreed to start making jam for sell in order to look on the market and how customers will accept their product. On 15/11/2017, they met together and Dorcas trained the other five youths on how to make jam. They managed to make 20 jams with two fruits varieties with the mixture of pineapple, strawberry, blackberry and black currant.

They sold the jam to the family members and their friends. The feedback was good with relatively low challenges, like lack of labels and lack of resources. Despite of the challenges, their product was accepted by the people and they managed to finish selling those 20 jams in three days.

‘‘Apart from this challenges we are not discouraged as we know when you are starting any business challenges must be there and you cannot tackle all challenges in a short period of time. So we are now planning to do labeling, make more jam as we can depend on the resources that we have and then after, we will register our company’’.

A youth received 7-million tshilling from the government through greenhouse

Meet a young entrepreneur Ray Peter Mark from Dodoma-Tanzania who has received support from SUGECO. His big dream in agriculture to feed the world is now coming true.  His parents used to send him to farm early in the morning before going to school and during the weekends, which is where he developed his spirit and ambition to work in agriculture.  He has achieved a lot although it was not easy for him to start agribusiness. He started with by promoting agriculture by establishing demo farms in his secondary school and village.

‘‘Farming in an open field gave a low yield while requiring a tremendous amount of effort. Now that I am using the greenhouse, I am able to save 40,000 shillings per week after our household expenses’’.

At the beginning, Ray Mark was cultivating crops in the open field where the crops were more susceptible to diseases, pests, and birds. Water consumption for irrigation in open field was also significantly higher than it is in greenhouse. By using the greenhouse, he is able to make more profit under the same amount of time. In six months, the yield increased from one tonne in open field to seven tonnes in greenhouse with less labour force. He became a champion farmer in his village and Dodoma as a whole. He is now producing quality products due to a better pest management system in the greenhouse whilst using a lower production cost than open field.

‘‘I am also visiting my fellow farmers and advising them on the importance of using greenhouse in agriculture and other good agricultural practices method so that they can move from where they are to another step of achievement as part of my contribution to the community’’

Through greenhouse project he has been able to get in to different network around Tanzania. He is a trusted young man sent by the government officials to teach other youth around Dodoma area through workshops to value agriculture as a business and to grasp opportunities in other sector. He has been getting many visitors from different places to learn about horticulture. Moreover, he is now able to open small cement blocks industry, to have electricity service at his home, and to provide employment to other youth. He is now supplying vegetables and other crops like tomatoes, okras and eggplants to the supermarkets and hotels in Dodoma.  Through his achievements from this SUGECO-supported greenhouse, the Ministry of Youth has granted seven million shillings for him to establish another greenhouse.