Frugal Innovation

The potential of indigenous varieties for local markets

A team from Leiden University has researched the potential of indigenous varieties in an internship conducted 2022/2023. They conducted this internship at one of the Profyta locations (, in Tanzania, where the suitability of adapted varieties for the local situation is tested.

Initially the students, on the basis of journal articles about ecological farming, were suspicious that the upgraded seeds from modern companies could push local varieties out of the market. During the internship they discovered that the situation is more nuanced and that high-quality seeds support productivity and need not be over expensive. They interviewed several companies and farmers in horticulture. They stressed the importance of awareness of climate change for the farmers.

From their conclusions: “Farming techniques need to be improved and customized to the farmers’ crops, location and outcomes. Profyta can provide these solutions through simple infographics and educational sessions for farmers. This together with some hardware solutions such as weather stations, manuals for their small sensor system and Mtumbwi can help farmers in gaining more food security.”

The Mtumbwi system is developed by Profyta and helps the local farmers to grow on substrate cheaply and with a very precise and sustainable inflow of water and nutrients.