Alqaim Lalani has gained recognition at the International School of Tanganyika and the wider Tanzanian community for his personal project. His intent was to establish a business agreement between a distributor and small-scale farmers, allowing them to micro-finance crop processing machinery.
Tanzania is a less economically developed country where agriculture accounts for nearly 30% of the total gross domestic product. The industry provides livelihood to three quarters of the country’s population of 50 million. Still, many small-scale farmers receive no government aid and struggle to earn equitable income.
Alqaim saw this first-hand as he worked in his father’s agro machinery shop upcountry over the summer. Since commercial farms could afford processing machinery, they could sell a refined product to the market and make high profit. The same commercial farms would charge small-scale farmers exorbitantly high sums of money to use their machinery; leaving them little room to make a profit for themselves.
Driven by how marginalized the small-scale farmers were despite their significance to the economy as a whole, Alqaim decided to focus on the topic of small-scale farmers for his personal project and find a way to help them. This would be done through connecting a group of small-scale farmers with a distributor in Dar es Salaam, followed by the creation of a business agreement. According to Alqaim, “it was of utmost importance that the farmers had full faith in the agreement I proposed; the total cost for machinery was expensive at first, but a much better return on their long-term investment would be earned once it was payed off.”
Alqaim was awarded the ‘Personal Project of the Year’ by the International School of Tanganyika as well as the ‘Dawn Carlson Award for The Outstanding Student’. He is set to attend the Aga Khan Academy Mombasa and enrol in the IB Diploma Programme.