In our seed nursery we grow an improved variety of oil palm trees for one year before they go to farmers. Kigoma farmers currently harvest 80-120 litres of oil per hectare (L/acre). Seed Change trees yield between 1,214-1,618L/a. Trees produce at this level for 25+ years.
With new trees from Seed Change, farmer family income increases from $110 to $1,313 per year from the size farm and same labour requirement. That is a 1,093% increase!
We grow tenera oil palm trees. Our variety is a hybrid of the local dura tree and a high yielding pisifera tree. The trees are perfectly suited to the climate, altitude, and soil type. These trees offer a new world of possibilities for our farmers, allowing them to reap greatly increased benefits for all their hard work.
In addition to tenera, we also grow moringa oleifera and gliricidum sepium seedlings for farmers. These two trees are used for the green wall of each agroforestry plot. They help to maintain soil structure, reduce erosion, fix nutrients into the soil, and keep farms cool with shade. Moringa leaves are high in a range of nutrients and make excellent chicken feed. When the leaves are processed into powder they can also be added to local dishes for a boost of nutrition!
We distribute a combination of seeds, seedlings, and farming materials to farmers to make sure they have everything they need to succeed with their oil palm agroforestry plot. Our farmers receive over thirty different seeds and seedlings including fruit trees, staple crops, a market garden, a green wall and, of course, tenera trees. Inputs are distributed throughout the year to coincide with planting times.
Additionally, we provide farmers with a range of tools including a wheelbarrow, rake, hoe, watering can, gumboots, and machete, to maintain their farms.
We facilitate farmer group development and train farmers on how to manage their agroforestry plots. Before planting, farmers complete a five-day intensive agroforestry training seminar at the Seed Change nursery where they receive the tools needed to succeed in oil palm agroforestry. The seminar includes a combination of classroom and field training to give farmers hands on experience with the techniques they’ve been taught.
We provide mentorship and support to farmers in their first year of managing an agroforestry plot. Our Field Officers make regular visits to each farm to monitor progress, offer advice, and address any issues that may arise. We also organize regular Farmer Field Schools where agroforestry farmers in the same village come together to discuss best practices and review different techniques for improving yields.
In Kigoma, women are underrepresented in oil palm farming which is locally considered a ‘men’s crop’. We are working to break that stigma and include more women in our programs to improve livelihoods for them and their families. Seed Change ensures at least half of all agroforestry bundles are distributed to female famers to ensure women in Kigoma have equal access to a pathway out of poverty.