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Spicing up Tanzania's rural economy

10 October 2023

Spicing up Tanzania's rural economy

Meet Sarena Food Products, a Tanzanian company that produces a wide range of spices, from black pepper to masalas. The company started trading in 2018 with three employees and little working capital.

By 2021, Sarena Food Products was facing challenges with establishing its business plan, product branding, workflow and financial record keeping. This led to managing director Regina Galus Mbawala seeking an opportunity to access business coaching through enrolling in the DECIDE project.

By participating in the project, the company has been able to develop a business plan, improve their packaging labels and manage their financial records more efficiently using QuickBooks software.

As of 2023, the business has grown to a have nearly 50 times as much working capital as in 2018, and grown their workforce to ten employees.

I didn't have a business plan or a strategic plan. I operated my business based on experience and routine. Farm Africa provided me with both, which enabled me to approach banks and obtain loans. This has allowed me to expand my business and seek vehicles for distributing my products to customers in other regions.

Regina Galus Mbawala, Managing Director, Sarena Food Products


Sarena food products

Companies such as Sarena Food Products are boosting the economy in Tanzania by creating jobs and ensuring there is a thriving market for small-scale farmers’ produce, such as spices.

Growth in agriculture is key to alleviating poverty in eastern Africa. The success of small farms can provide vital job opportunities, while the income generated is often spent within rural communities, helping to stimulate local economies.

With the population of eastern Africa being so young, at a median age of 17.6 years old, a huge number of people will be entering the labour force in the next few years.

Jobs in small-scale farming, as well as off-farm agricultural opportunities, such as food processing, packaging, retail and marketing, will play an essential part in absorbing this workforce.

Tanzania's horticultural sector is steadily growing at a rate of 11% per year, and much of this production is being delivered by micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), providing excellent opportunity for inclusive economic growth. However, many MSMEs lack access to the finance and business expertise needed to boost growth.

Farm Africa’s DECIDE project, funded by Norad, provided MSMEs in the Tanzanian horticultural sector with the support to evolve into profitable, growing agribusinesses.

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