SUA graduates, Farm Africa impart skills to sunflower

21Jun 2017
Beatrice Philemon
The Guardian
SUA graduates, Farm Africa impart skills to sunflower

MALL Scale farmers engaged in sunflower production in Gairo and Kilosa districts in Morogoro region have a reason to smile after Sokoine University Graduate Entrepreneurs Cooperative (SUGECO)

Sassists them to produce high quality commodity to customer’s need and market demand locally and in the East Africa region.

SUGECO’s Crop officer, Baraka Mashishanga said last weekend while visiting Ibuti village of the region that sunflower farmers are showing improvement following their training on good crop husbandry practices in 2016.

Mashishanga said the training has helped farmers shift from traditional farming methods to modern commercial farming techniques which focuses on use of quality farm inputs such as hybrid seeds to improve quality and quantity of commodities.

To start with, SUGECO trained a total of 168 smallholder farmers from eight villages of the two districts which has increase both quality and quantity of commodities produced. 

The farmers were trained with the support from Farm Africa’s three- years project (2015-2018) dubbed: Nutritional Awareness and Cash Crop Value Chain (NACC) Project for Gairo and Kilosa districts.So far a total of 40 acres of land has been allocated for cultivation of sunflower in the two districts where farmers expect to harvest 40 metric tons of sunflower seeds this season. 

Under the NACC, the smallholder sunflower farmers also get improved seeds   and other agro-inputs to improve yields.

One of the beneficiary farmers from Ibuti village, Alfred Kigume said the project has greatly improved their productivity.

 “The training was  very resourceful to me and my peers who took part in it because we learned how to grow sunflower, soil selection and field preparation plus use of hybrid seeds,” Kigume said noting that instructors also imparted them with skills on importance of replanting time, monitoring and managing pests.

He also said that they acquired skills on crop thinning, gap-filling practices, use of correct fertilizers such as Urea and DAP and how to control pests and disease attacking sunflower crops.

“This project has enabled me to cultivated sunflower on my farm successfully,” he underlined.