1,300 Kongwa sorghum farmers benefit from TBL-FtMA - WFP pilot project

23Nov 2020
By Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
1,300 Kongwa sorghum farmers benefit from TBL-FtMA - WFP pilot project

HILDA Madeje, a sorghum farmer from Sagala B village in Kongwa district has a reliable market to sell her 30 bags of sorghum, a yield 70 per cent better than in the previous years.

This has enabled her to earn enough money to build a modern house for her family and pay school fees for her 4 children.

Madeje was part of the TBL Plc - Farm to Market Alliance (FtMA) –World Food Programme (WFP) sorghum pilot project which aimed to equip farmers with Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), improving the yield and quality of sorghum, as well as to provide them with a guaranteed market for their produce.

The trilateral project kicked off in January 2020 where TBL Plc agreed to purchase the sorghum produced by smallholder farmers in Dodoma and Manyara regions. TBL Plc, FtMa and WFP supported the farmers with access to sorghum seed; crop insurance; sorghum crop management protocols; agricultural extension services; as well as improved aggregation and market access to maximize their harvest.

Speaking during the post season assessment for the program held in Dodoma last week, TBL Plc’s Agriculture Manager, Joel Msechu, said that TBL Plc paid smallholders farmers a total of 1.75bn/- for procuring 3,000 tonnes of sorghum produced in Mpwapwa, Kongwa, Kondoa, Bahi and Chamwino districts in Dodoma, where each kilogram of sorghum was bought for 550/-. “The project has had positive results and more over help improve the livelihood of sorghum farmers” he added.

According to Msechu the company currently sources 74 percent of its raw materials locally and is committed to increasing its local sourcing over the coming years.

TBL Plc is looking to contract 6,000 sorghum farmers for the 2020-2021 season to meet its demand of 10,000 tonnes of sorghum for the production of its fast-growing affordable brands – Eagle and BiaBingwa.

Speaking at one of the post assessment sessions, a representative from WFP, LusajoBukuku said that prior to the project farmers produced around 3 to 4 bags of sorghum per acre. However, through adapting Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), farmers now have improved yield and quality sorghum harvesting around 10 to 11 bags per acre.

Speaking on behalf of Farm Africa, William Mwakyami said that through the project, his organization has empowered a total of 846 farmers who are now able to earn more money through improved yields and a ready market.

The acting agricultural officer for Kongwa District, Ms. AminaMsangi said that prior to the project, farmers were facing a serious challenge when it came to market access. She urged farmers to aggressively grab the available market.

TBL Plc’s local sourcing programs are one of the many ways in which the company makes a significant contribution which stands with the government’s wider efforts towards enhancing Tanzania’s economy.

In 2018, AbInBev publicly committed to skill, connect and financially empower their direct farmers by 2025. To this end, TBL Plc has made significant investments in supporting smallholder farmers in Tanzania with the following products and services – KilimoUza: a bulk SMS and USSD platform to send farmers weather, market and agronomic information; An input advance credit scheme, coupled with financial literacy training, for the procurement of quality inputs and services; Research trials in Tanzania for developing improved sorghum seed variety and research based crop management protocols tailored to the Tanzanian context; and agronomic training and support throughout the season, to inculcate sustainable agronomic practices