Tanzania: Farmers Earn 13.5bn/ – in Sorghum Sales Through WFP Support
IN its 1.5bn/- funds (equivalent to 570,000 Euro) from the Irish Aid, the World Food Programme (WFP) in Dodoma region has raised the livelihoods of some 22,000 sorghum farmers through the sales of their produce.
The farmers registered 13.5bn/- after sales in 2020 to 2021 planting season.
Making the revelation while addressing the Media in Dodoma recently, WFP’s head of sub-office and programme policy officer in Dodoma, Neema Sitta further said they have been running the project (2018-2022) through the Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) programme funded by the Irish government and see into it that it becomes sustainable in the region, even after their phase out.
Elaborating, Ms Sitta noted that in addition, they are partnering with Farm Africa to assure the farmers with reliable markets locally and outside the country.
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The officer said to ensure the farmers cultivate the crop to the required standards, they routinely train them on the best farming methods and link them with financial institutions, citing NMB bank that provides them with low interest loans and deducted on the parties agreed terms.
She added: “At present the CSA project is being implemented in the six districts of Bahi, Chamwino, Mpwapwa, Kongwa, Chemba and Kondoa, where for the 2020 to 2021 season they (farmers) successfully sold more than 28,000 tonnes of sorghum, worth 13.5bn/- paid cash to them right into their farmers without involving fleecing middlemen.
“Our expectation is to see sorghum farmers increase production for the new season, in order to earn more and enlarge their income.”
MsSitta said their focus on sorghum farming was due to the crop adapting the climatic conditions of the region as well as soil, hence, assuring the residents not to worry of market that is also provided by the WFP that mills them also locally at Masaka in Dodoma before transporting to refugee camps in Kigoma and South Sudan.
“There are also some local buyers like companies of John Rainbow, Ali Juma, Tanzania Breweries Limited (on contract farming), as well those (WFP) transport also to DRC for our programs,” she pointed out.
She further said: “The sorghum crop contains a lot of vitamins that are beneficial to the human body nutrition-wise to fight stunting growth, hence, our future strategy is to increase productivity.
“We decided to intervene in buying the crop from the farm and sourcing for them direct buyers so that they see the essence cultivating the crop that sustains livelihood… before our intervention, there were traders exploiting them by purchasing sorghum from the farmers at 250/- per kilogram instead 550/- we pay.”
On her part, CSA Project Manager, from FarmAfrica Tanzania, Grace Changanyika said the project has been a great success for farmers making them currently harvest more than 10 sacks of sorghum per hectare instead of three in the same area before they were trained on best farming methods.
She further said: “This agriculture has changed the lives of farmers economically, socially and development-wise in comparison to the days before the project began.”
Commenting on project, Patrick Mbeho a farmer at Mkola village in Bahi district, said it has changed their lives within a short period of time, adding: “Currently I own than 20 hectares of sorghum and has never realized any loss, given the market security from the WFP and FarmAfrica. This is an economic, social and development I would urge other farmers to strategize for, for instance I used to get only 2m/- for a one hectare farm, but currently with training, earn up to 6m/- in the same area.