Nane-Nane means ‘Eight, Eight’ in Swahili. The date is reserved as ‘farmers’ day’ in Tanzanian calendar, a national holiday to recognize the importance of farmers to Tanzania’s national economy and development. While it is only one day itself, it is accompanied by a one-week fair in the form of agricultural exhibition. The fair is held by multiple zones (e.g. Northern Zone, Lake Zone, Eastern Zone, Southern Zone, etc.) which are themselves a collection of regions (for example the Northern Zone includes the regions of Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Manyara and Tanga). The one held in Arusha, for the Northern Zone, is probably the largest in the country.
The Nane-Nane fair in Arusha offers a rare opportunity to see a collection of entities related to agriculture and rural development together in physical proximity. Councils or municipalities and districts, agricultural research and training institutes, non-profit organizations, fertilizer and seed producers, and private industries and enterprises (national and international) all come together for a period of 8 days (from August 1st to August 8th) to demonstrate their relevance to agriculture and rural development. These demonstrations include exhibitions of produce, products/technologies and services. They also include distribution of brochures, booklets and special offers. Sales of products and services are also included.
Many networking activities happen during the Nane-Nane days as well. Representatives of organizations get to know about each other and their interconnected activities. Farmers get exposed to the various products and services available to assist them in their work. Being an annual event also offers chance for updating the public and concerned entities and individuals with the progress of particular projects, programs or activities.
Nane-Nane is also an educational and entertainment (edutainment) event. School students from the entire zone get to participate in visiting trips to the grounds organized by their respective schools or school boards. They get tours around the grounds accompanied by explanations of the various elements the event holds. Additionally, there are entertainment shows (including cultural dances), loud music everywhere, and nice outdoor food (from the small ice-cream and snack trolleys to the full-meal restaurants). There are even stores and street sales of many other products ranging from clothes to home and kitchen products to cosmetics and accessories. Quite a bonanza.
I was able to secure an entire event pass (i.e. for all the days of the event, anytime) from an organization that is located inside the grounds and I volunteer with. This is the second Nane-Nane festival I attend in Arusha. The first one was in 2013. I walk around, look at displays, take pictures of things and sites that interest me, and enjoy some of the food and snacks available.