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Sunflowers are empowering female farmers in Tanzania

06 April 2021

Sunflowers are empowering female farmers in Tanzania

Farm Africa and UN Women are supporting women in the Ikungi district of Tanzania to increase their incomes through sunflower farming.

Female farmers are currently being held back by poor production practices and lack of access to markets. Under UN Women’s Realising gender through empowering women and adolescent girls programme, Farm Africa is closing the gender gap in the sector by training sunflower farmers on how to access quality supplies and boost their productivity to meet the growing domestic demand for sunflower oil.

This year, the project has provided farmers with 1kg of sunflower hybrid seeds valued at 30,000 Tanzanian Shillings (TSh). Collectively, the seeds will enable farmers to harvest 117,000kg of sunflower at a value of 93.6 million TSh, of which 50.4 million TSh will go to 163 female sunflower farmers.

Sunflower farmer Sophia Rajab has benefitted from Farm Africa’s support. Through training and access to hybrid seeds, she has cultivated two acres of sunflower that consist of three varieties. Sophia confirmed that this is her best crop performance to date and she hopes to harvest over 24 bags of sunflower seeds, which will enable her to earn 1.3 million TSh if sold at the average price of 800tzs/kg. 

Alongside training, Farm Africa is working with cooperatives to increase female membership. Although women make up 68% of Tanzania’s sunflower sector they only represent 17% of cooperative members. This will enable female farmers to access quality inputs such as seeds, fertilisers and pesticides, and storage facilities to reduce post-harvest losses.

Building on the experience of Flourishing Futures, a project that supported 10,000 farmers to establish sunflower businesses, Farm Africa is linking cooperatives with suppliers and viable markets to provide women with the capital to expand their businesses.