MIICO has prior experience in working with smallholder farmers to access markets and improve production, this experience was obtained through working under the CORDAID funded program known as entrepreneurship and markets development whereby among the interventions, through the project MIICO managed to facilitate more than 25,000 farmers to increase production and access markets, warehouse system management and harvest handling techniques in rice,sesame, round potatoes and sunflower value chains in Mbeya, Iringa, Sumbawanga and Njombe regions.
The other experience that MIICO has got over the past years is working with women smallholder farmers through working in partnership with SNV in a project known as empowering women smallholder farmers in rice value chain in Sumbawanga, Momba, Mbarali and Kyela districts. In this project, MIICO has managed to reach over 65,000 women smallholder farmers through targeted interventions focusing on production, marketing, input markets and gender in rice value chain.
MIICO also worked with EFG in building the capacity of women traders in four markets in Iringa and Mbeya in 2015. Through this project, MIICO was able to facilitate women traders in entrepreneurship and access to financial services. Some of the women groups who started VSLA in these markets are still doing the work and they have benefited many women who have stated their businesses.
MIICO also has experience in working with youth. Currently MIICO is implementing two projects which target exclusively youth with ages ranging from 14 to 30 years. Our approach of Holistic Community Based Development Model enables youth to develop a set of skills which enable them to develop sustainable businesses in their own environment hence making them get employment without moving to the town.
MIICO also does advocacy, this is done through a land advocacy project where the project tries to build the capacity of farmers to demand for their rights on land. Through use of farmers forum, the organization has been able to organize more than 60,000 farmers in groups/platforms known as farmers forum. These farmers forums have worked together to demand for the land that was taken illegally from them by investors.Over the past years, MIICO has implemented some of programs/projects with great success.
Some of these programs includes:-
i. Entrepreneurship and Markets Development Program 2010-201 funded by CORDAID of the Netherlands. The overall goal of the program was to contribute toward reduction of rural poverty through increased income and livelihood assets. Specifically the program aimed to promoting efficient value chains, promoting business development services, and creating economies of scale, strengthening MIICO organizational institutional capacity, improving program management capacity and mainstreaming gender aspects in the programme. This program was implemented insix districts of Mbozi, Chunya, Mbarali, Kyela and Mbeya rural districts. Some of the program achievements include increased incomes, households’ assets and food security.
Some of the achievements in this project include increased income by over 80% to about 200 farm families through improved marketing and production of sesame in Chunya district and the strengthened capacity of cooperative association in Chunya to do farming as business. These cooperatives still operate more efficiently until now.
ii. Integration of small scale farmers into malting barley value chain. This is a project which was implemented from 2004-2007 in selected villages in Iringa and Mbeya regions. MIICO implemented this project in six districts of Njombe, Makete, Mufindi, Kilolo, and Iringa Rural in Iringa region. This project was funded by GATSBY Trust of UK through KILIMO TRUST which is based in Kampala Uganda. This project managed to link smallholder farmers growing barley to a new established Tanzania Breweries Limited brewing plant in Mbeya. More than 500 farmers were able to sell their crop under contract.
iii. Food Security and access to Market programs 1986-2009. Food security program started in 1986 in Mbozi district as an Agriculture development project. Food security and agriculture in general has remained core focus area of MIICO members for some years now. The implementation of food security programs has been accompanied by gender mainstreaming, environmental conservation and HIV/AIDS. The main funding agency for food security programs for many years was Belgium Survival Fund (through VECO Tanzania) up to 2002 and CORDAID of the Netherlands from 2003 to 2009. The main achievements of the program includes, enhanced food security, and improved household income and improved livelihood security. The achievements includes improved productivity of major food crops in Mbozi, Ileje and Mbeya rural and also improving the income by more than 90% for the majority of the households who were involved in the project