SIDO program in Tanzania helps a woman grow her business and economic well-being


SIDO program in Tanzania helps a woman grow her business and economic well-being

Safia Ahmed Abubakar is turning her passion for flavourful food into a growing business, while also helping to improve the economic well-being of her family.

The 50-year-old mother of three lives in Iringa, Tanzania, where she produces spices to use in food and drinks. Her business: Rumy’s Product.

Previously, Safia had a catering business selling homemade food, but she found purchasing quality ingredients and food products difficult because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Researching spices that would help refine the taste of the food, she developed her own unique spice blends at home.

“The source of motivation for my business start-up was mainly my love for cooking and the lack of good food products that one can use when cooking. I consider myself lucky because the source of capital for starting my business was mainly my family, specifically my husband, who has been very supportive from the very start,” she said.

A friend suggested Safia meet with Cuso International partner Small Industries Development Organization (SIDO) to get feedback and advice on her product and business. Working with SIDO, Safia received support with designing the label and packaging for her products, as well as advice and suggestions on managing her business. She also certified her products with the Registration of Business and Brand Name and the Certificate of Standards TBS.

“The growth of my business after I met SIDO has never been the same, new levels all the way,” she said.

The program has helped Safia improve the quality of her spices and today, her business continues to grow. She now has a room specifically for producing the spices and her business employs two people.

She’s attracted more customers, including supermarkets, restaurants, and individual households. The small machinery she works with can be a challenge to meet the growing customer base, so she hopes to get the right machinery at a discounted price.

The business has allowed Safia to financially assist with the cost of education for one of her daughters, who recently completed her bachelor’s degree. Feeling like she can play a part in supporting her family economically, her confidence in her business has increased.

In the future, Safia plans to grow her business in three regions that have recently shown an interest in her spices: Dar es Salaam, Dodoma, and Mbeya. She also sees herself as a mentor to other women in her community and encourages them to become strong and powerful role models.