The Isimani SACCOS was started in 2013 with 66 members. They now have 57 active members. The membership consists of 35 women and 22 men. 17 officers and board members of the SACCOS and AMCOS were present.
A total of TZS 49,200,000 (or about $21,800) was loaned last year. Of this, 21,400,000 TZS was from Internal SACCOS funds and TZS 27,800,000 was from loans from the Iringa Hope Joint SACCOS. A total of 33 loans were made. The average loan was for TZS 1,490,000 (or about $660 per loan). The loan repayments have already started and TZS 1,020,000 has been repaid to the Iringa Hope Joint SACCOS.
The AMCOS was registered in 2018 and is a member of the Joint AMCOS. There are 30 members of the AMCOS. Of the 30 members, there are 13 men and 17 women.
The AMCOS operates a five-acre farm. The farm has three acres of maize and two acres of sunflowers. An insufficient amount of fertilizer was used and only ten bags of maize were harvested from the three acres of maize.
Venance Msigala gave a presentation on how the AMCOS and the SACCOS would work together. Again there were many questions. One of the AMCOS members asked about whether the SACCOS and AMCOS work separately? Are they separate organizations, or do they work together? Ascriti Msemwa, the Chairwoman of the SACCOS directed her answer to the member. It was clear that she understands the organization very well. It appeared that some of the misunderstanding is as a result of their AMCOS making loans of fertilizer, separate from the SACCOS.
Sisto Uhagile, the Chairperson of the AMCOS said that the AMCOS members are new, so they are looking for direction. They lack funds at this time.
Rinusi Ngoro, the Chair of the SACCOS loan committee, said that there had been problems with AMCOS members taking out loans for fertilizer from the AMCOS and not paying the money back. He felt very strongly that all AMCOS members should also be members of the SACCOS, and take their loans from the AMCOS.
Consolata Mng`Ong`O, the Secretary of the SACCOS agreed that all AMCOS members must become members of the SACCOS. Sisto Uhagile, the Chairman of the AMCOS stated that the AMCOS is new, and that the registration process should be stopped until all AMCOS members become members of the SACCOS.
There was another question about why members needed to pay for shares and fees in both the SACCOS and the AMCOS. We responded that those are rules of the Tanzania Cooperatives Development Commission and not rules made up by our SACCOS and AMCOS. Sisto Uhagile, the Chairman of the AMCOS stated that the members understand that they need to become members of the SACCOS, however they may not be able to pay for the fees and shares of both the SACCOS and the AMCOS at the same time.
Peter Silayo asked what fertilizer members are using. Ascriti Msemwa, the Chairwoman and Rinusi Ngoro, the Chair of the SACCOS loan committee responded that they use cow manure. We are still working to help members recognize the value of using inorganic fertilizer with organic fertilizers such as cow manure.
Rinusi Ngoro, the Chair of the SACCOS loan committee stated that they had previously bought from distribution and were promised low prices, but ended up with high prices for the supplies. He said that if you want to help us, we need low prices for supplies.
Ngoro went on to say that there is no market for their crops. After further discussion, when members say that there is no market for their crops, they mean that when they want to sell their crops, middlemen do not show up in the village to buy their crops. It does not mean that there is no market anywhere. However it does mean that members need to find ways of transporting their crops to the location where buyers are located. This is exactly the solution that the staff at Iringa Hope is proposing. The staff is identifying buyers who buy regularly and reliably, and is developing plans for the AMCOS to arrange for contract trucking to collect the grain from villages and to deliver the grain to buyers.
Having answered all the questions, we began our first interview with Sophia Chambo. Sophia is 32 years old and has been a member of the AMCOS for one year. She has three children. Her children are two boys, 16 and 13 and one girl who is 10 years old.
Sophia farms five acres of maize, sunflowers and groundnuts. Of the five acres, two acres are owned and three acres are rented.
So far, she has used local seed and has used manure as fertilizer. She said that the AMCOS has been very helpful, helping her to understand better farming practices. She intends to begin using hybrid seeds and organic fertilizer. She says that she and her husband farm together and contract for the use of oxen to plow the land.
Our next interview was with Rinusi Ngoro, who is also the Chair of the loan committee. Rinusi is 52 years old and has been a member of the SACCOS for three years. He farms 20 acres. He raises 10 acres of maize and 10 acres of sunflowers. He also has a shop, selling domestic supplies. He has six children, two girls and four boys. The children range in age from 32 years old to 11 years old.
Rinusi’s first loan was for TZS 900,000 to purchase fertilizer and inventory for his shop. The weather was not good that year and his income was TZS 500,000 from his maize and TZS 500,000 from his shop. From this income, he repaid his loan and was left with TZS 100,000 of profit after repayment of his loan.
He has savings of TZS 300,000, so the maximum loan he is able to obtain is TZS 900,000. So his second loan was also TZS 900,000 to purchase DAP and CAN for four acres. He used 35 bags of fertilizer for maize and 20 bags of fertilizer for sunflowers. His income from farming was TZS 1,400,000 so his profit was TZS 500,000 (or about $221) after repaying his loan
His third loan was for TZS 900,000 again, for DAP and CAN fertilizer for his 10 acres of sunflowers. His harvest is not yet complete, but he expects to harvest 35 bags of sunflowers.
Rinusi explained that when he said there was no market, he really meant that no middlemen had come to the village. He said that last year the price for sunflowers was TZS 50,000 per bag. This year the price is TZS 35,000 per bag.
He said that last year the price for maize was TZS 60,000 per bag. This year the price is TZS 35,000 per bag.
He said that the middlemen only show up when the price is low. No middlemen show up when the price is high.
He said that the original AMCOS is still in existence, but the repayment rate from their members is very slow.
Rinusi said that his objective is to earn enough money to put his children through school, expand his shop business and to rent more land to expand his farming.