WPF’s Farm to Market Alliance targets to reach quarter million farmers

05May 2017
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
WPF’s Farm to Market Alliance targets to reach quarter million farmers

A multi-disciplinary ‘Farm to Market Alliance’ aimed at giving smallholder farmers access to inputs, credit, extension services and reliable market for their produce is targeting to reach 250,000 people within the next 3-5 years.

Juliana Magulu from Njombe Region showcasing part of her maize harvest last season

FMA Coordinator, Anath Raj and Senior Programme Associate, Masasa Makwassa said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that so far over 50,000 smallholder farmers have been included in the project from bread basket regions and central and northern semi arid regions.

“Next season which starts from September will reach 75,000 farmers who will get access to all necessary services and markets in a value chain model arrangement,” Raj said.

He noted that under the project which involves agro-processing firms, input manufacturers, banks, millers and global funding institutions, smallholder farmers have seen their maize yields more than double backed by a readily available market of millers and processors.

“Last season, farmers under the alliance produced over 22,000 metric tonnes of high quality maize which was sold to big local millers at premium prices,” Raj noted stressing that WFP is simply trying to introduce an ideal system which should be shared by the government and private sector.

Seconding Raj’s observation, Makwassa said the local private sector and government agencies who have been partners to FMA will have to sustain the value chain arrangement which encourages farmers to boost yields and earn more.

“We also expect to introduce other crops such as sunflower, pigeon peas which are widely cultivated by smallholder farmers,” Makwassa noted.

He named the regions currently involved in FMA as Iringa, Mbeya, Njombe, Ruvuma and Songwe in the southern highlands, Arusha and Manyara in the northern tourist enclave and Dodoma and Singida from the central semi arid zone while from the east coast is Morogoro.
“We hope that the next group of farmers will come from Katavi, Shinyanga and Tabora regions,” the Senior Programme Associate pointed out.

Originally started as a Patient Procurement Platform for WFP in 2015, the FMA project involves seven main partners namely: Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa; Bayer Crop Science AG; Grow Africa; International Finance Corporation; Syngenta Crop Protection AG; Rabobank; and Yara International ASA and currently involves Rwanda and Zambia also.

Top Stories