Smallholder farmers in rural areas of Tanzania face major barriers to market access, lacking knowledge of crop prices at various markets. This scarcity of information means that isolated farmers with no personal connections to distant markets are at high risk of being cheated, and are forced to guess at the best place to sell their produce.
The Masoko (meaning “markets” in Swahili) Project works to facilitate connections between markets and farmers in Tanzania. Though the project’s operations are based in Dar es Salaam and focused mainly in the Kariakoo Market (the largest wholesale market in Tanzania), the project aims to create practical solutions for farmers and markets throughout the country.
The Masoko Project, in partnership with the Kariakoo Market Corporation, Habari Mazao, and other stakeholders, is working to systemize the collection and distribution of accurate information about crop prices. Rural farmers armed with up-to-date price data are less likely to be taken advantage of when going to market and can more confidently decide where to sell the crops they harvest. Farmers throughout Tanzania will be able to access this information with a simple text message from their mobile phones. Currently, daily price data is available online here.
The Masoko Project also acts as an immediate resource for other projects across the 2Seeds network. Thanks to strong relationships built in Kariakoo and other markets in Tanzania, the Masoko Project facilitates sales of 2Seeds products in large volumes and at premium prices.
Additionally, the project aims to increase collaboration among NGOs, government organizations, and businesses working within the agricultural value chain in Tanzania. The project hosts periodic workshops on issues relevant to our work, which are attended by representatives from a variety of organizations, including, in past workshops, One Acre Fund, KickStart, Technoserve, and the World Bank. This initiative is based on the assumption that collaboration among organizations with similar or complementary roles benefits stakeholders at all levels, from market executives to rural farmers.