On March 6, 2020, Dickson Msungu, AMCOS Manager, Venance Msigala, Agronomist and Norm Siekman, Iringa Hope Board Member met with Michael Dunford, the World Food Program (WFP) Country Representative for Tanzania in Dar es Salaam to propose Iringa Hope as a strategic supplier of maize to WFP. The World Food Program, an agency of the United Nations, purchases crops throughout the developing world, so that WFP can provide food assistance to the victims of war, crop failures or natural disasters.
In the meeting, Michael Dunford stated that the WFP was making a change in direction. In the future, WFP will have an objective to purchase 10% of their total demand for crops from smallholder farmers, where they could not only identify the names of the individual farmers and but also identify where the farmers are located. Tanzania will be the pilot location for executing the plan. We explained how Iringa Hope could help them to achieve that objective. Included in the meeting were Claude Edward Lawassi, Head of Their Procurement Unit, and Masasa Makwassa, Deputy Head of Smallholder Farmers. Dunford asked them to schedule a meeting in Iringa to meet our AMCOS members and to visit Iringa Hope village locations as part of their due diligence.
Claude Lawassi and Wilbroad Karugaba, Senior Program Associate, Smallholder Farmers Unit came to Iringa to meet members of the AMCOS organization on March 16. They toured AMCOS locations at Nduli, Isimani, Ilambilole, Ihemi, Kiponzelo, and Ifunda. The WFP representatives were very impressed with the Iringa Hope operations and staff. They were especially impressed with the AMCOS’ practices for storage, record-keeping, and the management of post-harvest loss. As a result of those meetings, Iringa Hope has received a request to register as a supplier to the WFP. WFP purchases 200,000 metric tons of maize annually for their needs. Iringa Hope should be able to supply 2,000 metric tons to WFP in 2020 for their smallholder program this year.
This initiative began when another one of Iringa Hope’s strategic partners, Professor Dirk Maier of the Consortium for the Reduction of Post-Harvest Loss at Iowa State University met with David Austin, Director of Strategic Partnerships at WFP in February. Professor Maier recommended that Austin should introduce Iringa Hope to the WFP Procurement team in Tanzania. When Iringa Hope contacted Dunford, the WFP Country Representative in Tanzania, he welcomed our AMCOS capability to help them to achieve their objectives.
Iringa Hope has been blessed to have the skilled and experienced staff in Tanzania that has continued to grow the Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) and AMCOS capability and membership. Iringa Hope is now attracting the attention of strategic partners such as the Consortium for Post-Harvest Loss and the World Food Program. These partnerships provide benefits to Iringa Hope’s smallholder farmer-members.
As a result, the smallholder farmer-members are now using the best practices of agronomy and crop storage and are receiving the best prices for their crops by marketing their crops through the Iringa Hope AMCOS. All of this is enabling members to increase their incomes and improve their families’ lives.
 Agricultural Marketing Cooperative Societies (AMCOS)