Berit Skaare (73) is a Norwegian teacher and an idealist. She has founded and led the orphanage Ilula Orphan Program (IOP) www.ioptanzania.org from the start 1998. . Initially she traveled to Tanzania to help with a water project but discovered that the poor girl orphans had the greatest need for help. So Berit started organizing and raising money to get the girls away from the streets, out of poverty and into school.
“I wanted to give them a third choice: Education”
The project “Farm for the Future”
Berit bought a closed down tobacco farm of 250 hectares in 2011 at a very favorable price. The farm was rented out to local farmers in the early years, who traditionally cultivated tomatoes, corn and sunflowers there.
Several of IOP’s board members saw the potential in the farm, and when Osmund Ueland, who assisted the orphanage on a voluntary basis from 2013 with strategy work, management development and training of board members, asked Berit what he now could contribute with, Berit asked Osmund in 2015 to be the Project Manager for development of the farm.
When the first business plan for the farm started in January 2017, everyone concerned agreed that the region’s problems were: unemployment, poverty, low agricultural skills, undernourishment, low yields on crops, and social exclusion of young single mothers who need to take care of themselves and their child. In this two day seminar, more than 30 key people attended, like two local farmers, two students, two young single mothers, Village representatives, District and Regional representatives, management of Yara Tanzania, SAGCOT,SUA and management of IOP and other stakeholders took part. Here the foundation for the Unique model with Commercial farming and training on the same arena was built.
Photos from the 2 days seminar in January 2017
Good forces from Yara Tanzania, Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), NMBU (Norwegian Environment and Biosciences) and SAGCOT (Southern agriculture growth corridor of Tanzania),together with a goal oriented and efficient project management, have helped the projectforward with high competence and low costs (much voluntary effort).
The founded limited liability company “Farm For the Future Tanzania Ltd” of April 2018, isowned 25 % by IOP and shareholders from Europe, mainly Norway, Luxembourg, Tanzania, USA and UK. The company leases the land from IOP and invests in its own buildings and equipment.FFF has from day one given priority to cooperate with local professional partners.
The farm – in a rapid positive development
On February 12.th 2018, the Kavli Trust granted NOK 4.6 million to start the project, and made it possible to start the work on:
- Renovating the old buildings on the farm to an efficient warehouse, teaching quarters and office.
- Purchasing modern equipment for energy-efficient operation
- Removal of 1600 trees and building 15 000 meters internal roads.
- Preparing for and completing the first planting of 210 hectares of maize, just 5 months after the farm was made available in July 2018.
Substantial additional funding from the companies in Oslo and Eigersund mainly, and IOP Committees in Luxembourg and USA, Sunflower Luxembourg, ensured a start that has received attention, and where growth is even better than expected.
GREAT CONCLUSIONS FOR FARM FOR THE FUTURE APRIL 27, 2018
Showcase meeting with Ilula Township Officer, 3 Village chairpersons, 3 SUA researchers, ward councilor, 6 local farmers, and 2 single mothers.
The showcase was initiated by Farm for the Future Tanzania Ltd together with Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) , to update the participants about FFFs plan to start full farming in December 2018, and also show the results of SUA/YARA/WU fertility trails.
After presentations from FFF chairperson Osmund Ueland, Professor Urio Ndelilio and Dr. Peter Mtakwa, and tour to the test plot where an official photo was taken (attached), the followinggreat consolations was reached:
1.We are all good Ambassadors for Farm for the Future
2.FFF: “Empowering people” is a good vision and slogan
3.We will all help out to sell Shares in FFF from June to help funding and get local ownership
4.All strongly supported the plan with “Children’s Farm for the Future” for children from Kindergartens and Primary Schools. FFF also has to look into the possibility in the future to do similar for Secondary School and those who have graduated from secondary education but are unemployed.
5.The meeting understood and supported the split of FFF in two: a) A commercial part (Farm for the Future Tanzania Ltd, and b) A training part (Farm for the Future Training) as an NGO in order to prepare for growth and external funding.
6.All local farmers to see the results on the test plot the coming weeks, and the difference in results by using fertilizer and not as well as conventional and conservation tillage. The chairperson of the different Villages will organize, and representatives from FFF will be there and explain.
7.Farm for the Future will be the Model Farm for this area, a place to learn from.
8.SUA and the participants have learned today the importance of testing and communication? Participants have seen and learned from the trial the positive effects of good farming. This needs to be communicated to other farmers.
9.FFF invited Local Villages to two regular meetings a year. Next meeting will be on the farm in the temporary Headquarter and training before December 2018.
10.The idea of having and Advisory Board for FFF once a year, with representatives like SAGCOT, RC, DC, Berit Skaare