meet the farmers
Kibeni is located at the northern tip of Unguja, Zanzibar’s southernmost island. Just a short walk away from the beach, you will have a beautiful view of Tumbatu Island.
The area is extremely poor, the land is blazing hot and covered with small, extremely dense, spiky scrubs which are impossible to walk through. The village is located within some clearings of the scrubs. Trees are scarce and provide much-needed shade to escape from the tropical heat of the sun.
Kibeni is also the home of our women turmeric cooperative. They are a group of strong-minded women determined to make a difference. On small plots of land close to their homes, they farm bananas, plantains, coconuts, yams, maize and turmeric. Besides this, they also take care of their households, their children and cook delicious meals from scratch every single day.
It is a hard life and it becomes even harder when they are trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty. Turmeric is one of their only sources of extra income, and yields have been declining year after year as they are not able to rest their soil or acquire organic fertilisers. Keeping livestock is too expensive for them.
Furthermore, most of their spices are sold to middlemen for low local prices who take away most of the profit. We are determined to break this cycle.
With Ujamaa, we pay the farmers a fair share for their turmeric and on top of this, we will reinvest part of the profits back into their farms, allowing them to purchase the necessary manure and leave some of their plots of land to rest.
We have teamed up with Dr. Mwatima Juma and Mr. Ali Jecha, two very experienced and well-travelled plant scientists, agriculturalists and permaculture experts. Both Dr. Mwatima and Mr. Ali will guide the farmers to follow more sustainable methods of growing their turmeric and other crops. This will not only benefit their livelihood, but also the ecosystem as it will provide more trees to give that much needed shade and moisture retention in the soil.