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New project with UN Women will empower women in Tanzania's sunflower sector

15 February 2021

New project with UN Women will empower women in Tanzania's sunflower sector

Farm Africa announces the start of a new project with UN Women under their Realising gender through empowering women and adolescent girls programme.

Tanzania is well positioned to grow its oilseed and horticulture sectors, but many women are currently being excluded from participating in and benefiting from the potential of the sector. Through a 12-month project that launched in January 2021, Farm Africa will train sunflower farmers on how to access quality supplies and boost productivity to meet growing domestic demand for sunflower oil, increasing incomes for women working in the sector.

The project is supporting three agricultural marketing cooperatives (AMCOs) in the Ikungi district of Tanzania. AMCOs enable farmers to pool resources and undertake transportation, packaging, distribution and the marketing of agricultural products to buyers. UN Women are working with local officials to ensure these cooperatives increase their female membership so that women can also benefit from resources and market access.

Hodan Addou, Country Representative from UN Women Tanzania commented: “UN women is pleased to work in partnership with Farm Africa to progress our work enhancing the social and economic status of women and adolescent girls in Tanzania. The project will provide needed support to female smallholder farmers working in the sunflower sector, boosting incomes and economic agency at a household and community level.” 

Mary Batterman, Farm Africa’s Tanzania Country Director, added: “Farm Africa is delighted to embark on a new project with UN Women to unlock the potential of women working in Tanzania’s sunflower sector. Female farmers are currently being held back by poor production practices and lack of access to markets. We are proud to work to help female farmers increase the quality, quantity and value of their produce.”

Currently, women make up 68% of Tanzania’s sunflower sector but women only represent 17% of members in these cooperatives. Farm Africa will promote women’s membership of and leadership roles within these cooperatives.

Farm Africa’s new project draws on the experience gained from Flourishing futures, a project that supported 10,000 farmers to establish or develop sunflower businesses in the Manyara region of Tanzania.

Farm Africa will support cooperative members with training on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), Quality Declared Seeds production and climate-smart agricultural techniques, so farmers are able to increase the quantity and quality of sunflowers they grow in Tanzania’s extreme climates.

Farm Africa will link cooperatives with suppliers and viable markets, so they can access quality inputs such as seeds, organic fertilisers and pesticides to boost production and sell their produce to buyers for better prices. A sunflower warehouse will be constructed in the village of Mnang’ana in Ikungi District for use by cooperative members to enhance collective marketing and reduce post-harvest losses.

This work will provide women in the sunflower sector with the resources and skills to increase their incomes and expand their businesses.