As printed in The Marketplace - 2018 - September/October
Tanzanian firm processes and distributes natural products
Sara Kessy, pictured below and lower left, is the founder of Halisi Products. Halisi is a MEDA lead firm that works with 1,000 suppliers, mainly women farmers, in Tanzania’s northern Arusha corridor. Halisi, a Swahili word that means natural, processes soya meal, porridge, peanut butter and two types of honey — regular and stingless bee. They also sell spices grown in Tanzania.
Halisi has 1,000 customers who buy its products for distribution to supermarkets, wholesale and retail shops. Kessy will be a panelist at MEDA’s annual convention in Indianapolis, Nov. 8-11.
Kessy started her firm at home, building a processing unit in her back yard. After five years, she moved to a larger facility. MEDA began working with Halisi in August 2017 as part of the Strengthening Small Business Value Chains (SSBVC) project, with financial support from Global Affairs Canada. Through a two-year partnership with MEDA, Halisi aims to improve farmer productivity by 50 per cent, engaging 1,200 small enterprises, at least 40 per cent of them women-led.
Farmer training includes post-harvest handling of crops, good agricultural practices and understanding farming as a business. The project is also training suppliers to meet regulatory compliance standards of local and international markets, including occupational health and safety rules.
MEDA has helped Halisi to afford three additional staff and ensure that environmental sustainability practices are followed. ◆