It must first be said that this is not another account describing the struggles of ongoing problems in a developing country – this is not about what is going wrong with a nation, but a progressing story of what is going right. Amongst the potpourri of facts about the African continent, one principle reality is that agriculture and fisheries together provide livelihoods for roughly two-thirds of people of it’s encompassed 54 countries.
In Tanzania, agriculture accounts for approximately half of the national income and employs approximately 80% of the country’s entire population. The farmers live for their crops; they invest, grow, harvest, care-for, cultivate and know every trick of the trade, all while investing their precious sweat, soul and time. With the rich, fertile soil that is soaking in potential, the crops of these farmers are easily enabled to prosper. However, one crucial question must be posed; why are these farmers struggling to maintain a sustainable income? Although the answer is far from simple, the one major conundrum that must be resolved, is finding a market within which to traffic these raw products. In November 2011, amidst a combination of passion and systemization, the founders of Natural Extract Industries Ltd. swooped in to address just this.
At first, the question of how to use vanilla was a matter of cultural diversity, because, generally speaking, Tanzanians do not commonly consume vanilla in their traditional culinary practices. To the point, however, in the global market, vanilla is in very high demand as the second most expensive spice following Saffron.
The long, strong, sustainable bridge that NEI has constructed between this natural ability to cultivate and a global market seeking to invest, is a excellent modernized reality of how to increase the Tanzanian economy by creating sustainable incomes for these smallholder farmers. From crop to bottle, in a rapidly changing world.