In the context of TSHTDA, farmer empowerment entails the ability of smallholder tea growers through their groups, associations, networks and other forms of organizations to determine their own needs and aspirations and assume the authority, resources and capabilities to articulate and exert their demand for services in the areas of inputs, research, extension services, green leaf marketing and investment. In this context, TSHTDA’s farmer empowerment services are focused on the following major areas:-
(a) Organizational empowerment
• Providing catalytic support to start and sustain group formation processes
• Assisting farmer groups to form Tea Growers’ Associations that can better represent their views and also assist members with input supply and marketing;
• Strengthening the existing farmer organizations/associations/cooperatives through motivation, advice and training.
(b) Knowledge empowerment
• Enhancing farmer knowledge, decision-making capacity and capability of interacting with sources of tea production input and other service providers
• Improving knowledge of agricultural policies and regulations.
• Providing farmers with training on business and negotiation skills at production and green leaf marketing levels.
• Facilitating Tea Growers Association Leaders’ Inter-Area Visits:
(c) Financial empowerment.
• Encouraging formation of sustainable Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) as vehicle for deepening financial intermediation among the farming communities;
• Encouraging the formation of development funds for supporting the procurement and distribution of farm inputs;
• Liaising with Land Surveying Authorities for processing smallholder fields title deeds with the view to using tea fields as collaterals in negotiating with financial institutions for loans; and
• Providing the technical in the preparation of business plans/project proposals that may be used when negotiating for loans/grants with financial institutions/donor communities.