By Anonymous

 - August 28, 2014

An interview with Agnes Boi, Allanblackia Gatherer and Farmer

In July, one of our local partners sat down with Agnes Boi, an Allanblackia farmer in Tanzania to hear her thoughts on Allanblackia and what it means to her. Below are excerpts taken from the notes of that conversation.

Agnes has lived in her small village in Tanzania for 60 years, has three grown children and supports another A-level student at boarding school. Along with keeping a few goats and cows, she currently grows a variety of spices and other crops on her farm including Allanblackia. While she is waiting for the Allanblackia trees to mature and bear fruit, Boi harvests Allanblackia in the wild and sells the seeds.

What do you like about living here?

I like this village a lot. Its people are friendly. I was born here, so this is my home. All of my family live here.

How has life in the village changed since you have lived here?

Life has changed a lot. I have built my house. I have seen reintroduction of Allanblackia as a crop. I have seen a new school church and mosque in this village.

What are some of the challenges of living here?

There are a lot of challenges. We don’t have transport to enable us reach the district headquarters for buying our needs. There is no clean tap water. There has been deforestation of trees in the forest for various uses.

How did you first hear about Msambu (Allanblackia)?

I first heard about Allanblackia in 2005. By that time, I was working with Amani Nature Reserve and I heard this information from the conservator of Amani Nature Reserve. He told us that some visitors were to visit us to explain on the importance of Allanblackia (Msambu). Myself, I knew the tree since my childhood. It was a tree like other trees that were growing natural but with no significant use apart from conserving the environment.

After the visitors left, I asked the Amani Nature Reserve assistant conservator on how to get Allanblackia seedlings for planting in my farm. I later managed to get seedlings and started planting them in my farm. Planting Allanblackia in my farm made me happy as I saw myself as among people conserving the environment, but with a big hope of earning income in future from selling seeds. Planting AB seeds will assure me a reliable source of seeds closer compared to now where we have to travel long distances to get seeds.

What interested you about Allanblackia?

Allanblackia is cash crop, and it increases my income. Planting trees conserves the environment. The
plants are distributed freely, and there is a reliable market. The training we received also interested me.

How do you use Allanblackia now?

Currently, for earning income.

Is Allanblackia meeting your expectations?

AB has helped me in meeting my needs and expectations in building my house and paying for school fees. I have managed to increase my number of goats and cows. The income also contributed to a fund that I used to buy a farm.

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Category: Economic, Social, Benefits

Country: Tanzania