Through a two-year project ‘Flourishing Futures’ implemented by Farm Africa with financial support from Agricultural Markets Development Trust (AMDT) the smallholder farmers have been able to increase investments, productivity and business linkages.
Basing on market approaches to sunflower production in northern Tanzania, the initiative enhanced collaboration across the value chain and pro-poor mutually beneficial contractual arrangements between smallholder farmers, small-scale processors, and buyers.
Program Manager for Farm Africa Tanzania, Tumaini Elibariki told the Guardian in an interview that beneficiary farmers and SME processors have made significant progress in sunflower production and processing—the two main employment opportunities in the sunflower value chain.
According to Elibariki, the initiative played a key role to curtail constraints faced by farmers and sunflower processors, including low adoption of improved seeds, weak incentives for investment, as well as low technical, operational and financial management capacity.
“Through the intervention, a total of 13,064 smallholder farmers have been engaged in the sunflower production by October 2020, which is equivalent to 131percent of the targeted 10,000 farmers,” he noted adding the project achievement has exceeded the target by 31 percent.
Elibariki said the project which has been implemented in partnership with local government officials from Babati, Kiteto and Hanang districts has enabled at least 95.68 percent of farmers to invest in commercial hybrid seeds.
He added that 12,500 smallholder farmers, out of 13,064 are practicing commercial sunflower cultivation which translates to improved employment opportunities.
Similarly, he said the project target of having 6,400 smallholder farmers engaging in cultivation of hybrid sunflower seeds has been exceeded by 195 percent.
“At least 80.10 percent of smallholder farmers’ groups have received credit facilities from different sources outside their organizations. This value can be extrapolated to indicate that around 10,464 smallholder farmers out of 13,064 received credit facilities,” he expressed.
He informed that 67 percent of the SMEs sunflower oil seed processors in the region have significantly increased their annual processing volumes from an average of 49MT processed in 2018 to 70MT per SME processor in 2020.
The overall total annual processing volume of all targeted processors increased from 732MT in 2018 to 1029MT in 2020.
With the project’s support, sunflower oil seed processor’s extraction rate efficiency has increased from 4.2Kg seed per litre in 2018 to 3.2Kg seed per litre in 2020 with local varieties requiring greater seed volume per litre than hybrid seeds.
“There is no significant improvement with use of local varieties, while the use of hybrid seeds has significantly improved the extraction efficiency rate. SMEs now require fewer Kg of seed (around 3.2kg) to produce a litre of sunflower oil, while with the local variety it would need at least 4.2kg of seed to extract a litre of sunflower oil,” he said.
Farm Africa has been working in Tanzania since 1990 with an eye to support smallholder farmers, pastoralists and forest communities. The organization helps them to become self-sufficient through pioneering techniques that boost harvests and sustain natural resources.