Tausi Bakari is a 38-year old married woman. She lives in Mwandila village with her husband and three daughters– ages 8, 15, and 18. The two oldest daughters attend secondary school and the youngest is in standard two. Tausi is a paraprofessional and a member of Kasimpya group, a producer group working with Pathways Tanzania. She currently supervises 8 groups in her village, trains group members on improved agricultural practices and gender issues, and provides advice when needed. The main source of income for her family is selling maize that the family produces on their plots and that they purchase from their fellow farmers at the beginning of harvest season and then sell in the village when there is a scarcity causing a spike in prices.
Tausi and her family own 8 acres of land, approximately 5 of which are planted in maize and the rest are used for sesame, cassava, and legumes. Tausi has learned many new agronomic practices after joining Pathways. Before joining the group, she used to mix cassava and sesame in the same plot. Since receiving the training, she learned that the sesame plant is too weak to be mixed with cassava in the same plot, which often contributed to low yields. She used to harvest only 36 kilos of sesame from a half acre plot but now, after learning from Pathways, she is able to harvest 200 kilos from the same plot. She used to invest a great deal of labor but still have low yields; now, she plants in a line, uses improved seeds, and sprays her crops with pesticides and her yields have increased .
In December 2014, Tausi was selected by the District Agriculture Officer to engage in cassava seed multiplication and rented 3 acres of land to pursue this new activity. Previously, Tausi only produced a quarter acre of cassava for family consumption and was not aware of markets for cassava. Now, after learning from Pathways, she knows more about improved cassava varieties and, in the coming seasons, she will have the opportunity to provide this improved seed to her village and other villages. In doing so, Tausi will help reduce the cost of seeds by cutting the transportation distance required, and will help more farmers used improved varieties. Tausi was able to hire labor to help her prepare the three acres of her cassava seed plot, investing 1.8 million Tanzanian shillings, and is expected to harvest up to 400 bundles of cassava per season, which will be sold at a cost of 10,000 Tanzanian shillings each. She will promote her product in her own and other villages. “I’m confident to say that I will increase my family income through this business and increase my network as I will be linked with different people and I always welcome other farmers to come and learn what I am doing. I will use the income from sales of seeds to solve my family problems and increase capital to our small business activities, especially buying maize during harvest season and selling when there is a scarcity in the village.”