Trianon Spices, Tanzania

Scaling regenerative agriculture in Tanzania’s spice sector

Using regenerative agroforestry to promote livelihoods and preserve habitats in Tanzania

Spices from the lower Eastern Arc area of mainland Tanzania are of intrinsic high quality due to the unique climatic conditions of the region, but fly under the radar compared to those from other major spice producing countries. As high value, non perishable cash crops with a growing global market, spices offer the potential for meaningful social impact. Grown near some of the most biodiverse rainforests in the world with a greater emphasis on farming in harmony with nature, spices can be a driver of economic and landscape change, combatting habitat loss and preserving precious biodiversity.

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Grounded has invested in and partnered with a Tanzanian spice processing and exporting company, Trianon Spices (Trianon). Trianon sources cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and black pepper from more than 1,000 small farmers in and around the lower Eastern Arc Mountains. A region with some of the most biodiverse rain forests in the world and one where the shady tropical highlands, fertile lowlands, and coastal proximity create unique microclimates, ideal for growing a number of spices.

The Eastern Arcs are, however, responsible for much more than spice cultivation. They act as a critical natural buffer to climate change and this macro landscape also offers a home to millions of Tanzanians who rely on its soils and natural resources for food, income and water. Fulfilling so many roles is a lot to ask of one landscape and by some estimates, less than thirty percent of the Eastern Arc’s forests remain. Spice growing itself is one of the main culprits of habitat loss, and although spice farming can be the solution to drive economic and landscape change, this isn’t a given.

The starting point for sustainable spice farming is strong and farmers should be able to both leverage and preserve the landscape’s natural wealth by growing spices and conserving some of the forest. But basic agroforestry isn’t enough without intensified and regenerative practices, a trajectory Grounded is well-positioned to support.

Although there are real challenges, in the context of the global spice trade Tanzania enjoys specific advantages. There is urgent demand for new sourcing regions that meet higher environmental and social standards; and growing attention on the health and medicinal properties of spices, especially those produced organically.

The opportunity is there for the small and medium-scale spice farming and farming-adjacent industries in Tanzania to enter a new cycle: one of abundance, where farmers and forests can both thrive; where high quality products can be regeneratively produced and efficiently sourced, so that local value-adding and domestic processing can flourish and in-turn, offer a fair and consistent profit back to the farmers.

We’re thrilled to be working with Trianon to expand their organic programme, increase traceability, and implement next-level regenerative agriculture techniques.

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Trianon sources, processes and exports cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and black pepper from more than 1,000 small farmers. In 2022, Trianon received its first organic certification for almost 200 farmers (and growing) enabling access to premium markets and fair compensation for growing sustainable and regenerative crops.