Unlocking Mind Power Through Local Spices Value Chain Project

December 27, 2023

Mr.Domingos at his small garden around his house.

UNDP Team in Oé-cusse


Small family gardens around the house with spices and vegetables are very common and play an important role in food security and mitigating malnutrition. 


My name is Domingos Tani (47). I’m married, and my spouse’s name is Aida Bobo (45). We have 6 kids, 3 daughters, and 3 sons. We live permanently in Oefoco village, aldeia Fatubijae of Suco Bobocase, in Oé-Cusse.
Before I joined this project, I never thought about utilizing land space surrounding our house to grow crops for economic purposes. We focused on growing seasonal crops such as rain-fed rice, maize, tubers, beans, and pumpkins every year just to respond primarily to family consumption without thinking of surplus for sale. On the other hand, we presume that shifting farm locations every year by simply slashing the forest is a good option and uncomplicated and cheaper.  
But we need to rearrange and actualize our mindset. This is what we are doing right now. We acknowledge and are happy to be part of this project. It has helped us to start thinking in the right direction. BIFANO, a local NGO, and UNDP through the Spices project, have influenced changes in our mindset, determining strategies for competitive income-making and better life conditions in the future through group discussions and training. 

Domingos and his family

UNDP Team in Oé-cusse

Initially, I was not convinced -about growing vanilla, pepper, and clove cultivation because these crops are new in our region. Additionally, they are complicated to grow, and it takes time to get any return. But with serious mentoring and enlightenment through training from the BIFANO. Eventually, I became curious. I challenged myself - no matter how much effort, time, and money it would require, I would keep struggling until we had results. I planted 50 vanilla and 70 cloves in the space around my home as a spice garden.    
It turns out that we can grow spices here. I am satisfied with the initial progress. They grow well. The land space surrounding my house was empty and wasn’t well organized. Now I am happy to see (how) it has changed. Spice plants and vegetables occupy this space, I intercropped them to save water and time for cultivation. I produce organic fertilizer for the plants. I have started to sell vegetables produced in the garden and earned 200 $. It is exciting for me and my family. 
I humbly hope that other families will also adopt these practices. Utilize the space around their houses, and generate income, through an alternate source, for themselves by protecting nature. Let's share and learn together! No matter how difficult it is, it will make us smile one day.