Mangos Are His Passion!

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ENGINE Supported capacity building leads to Successful Mango Cultivation Business

As a child, in lieu of playing with his friends, John Mwakitalu would opt to work in his family’s garden where he would “help the plants grow”. He was fascinated with the plants’ life cycles and wanted to learn more.  In pursuit of this knowledge, John attended Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro, and studied with the SUGECO Business Development Services Provider (BDSP) sponsored by the USAID-funded Feed the Future Tanzania Enabling Growth through Investment and Enterprise Program (ENGINE), whom he credits for much of his success. ENGINE works to connect BDSPs and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to create linkages. Business development services, like John’s training, teach business owners valuable skills and add to their overall capacity.

Before starting his business, John received two degrees in agriculture studies and instead of seeking traditional employment, decided to start his own business in March 2014. However, it was the skills that skills he learned from SUGECO—particularly business planning, business operations and the loan application process that really took his business to the next level. John explained, “The business plan development, record keeping, accounting and profitability that I learned from ENGINE’s training with SUGECO is what gave me the boost to success”.

John now has three full time employees and twelve seasonal, part-time employees. During the growing season, John grows four types of mango saplings and his operation produces 20,000 saplings annually with an annual income of 15,000,000 Tanzanian Shillings.  John sells his mangoes all over Tanzania, but much of his business is concentrated in Dar es Salaam, Morogoro, Dodoma and the southern highlands.

John says, “Thanks to ENGINE, I have become an asset to my community.  Without ENGINE, my business wouldn’t be where it is today”.  He now works with other sapling suppliers, helping them to find markets for their product. As a primary component of ENGINE’s design, business development services play a key role in linking enterprises with valuable services, in order to facilitate a strong private sector.

Feed the Future is the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative. With a focus on smallholder farmers, particularly women, Feed the Future supports partner countries in developing their agriculture sectors to spur economic growth and trade that increase incomes and reduce hunger, poverty and undernutrition.USAID is the lead U.S. Government agency working to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential.