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Raising a glass to sorghum success

In the Dodoma Region of Tanzania, many farmers grow sorghum to feed their families. Market demand for sorghum is rising, opening up an opportunity for farmers here to generate an income from this crop. Unfortunately, many smallholders lack the yields and equipment to tap into the commercial possibilities.

In this drought-prone region, hunger is a reality that many families face during the regular dry seasons. During these times, many farmers struggle to grow enough sorghum for their own households. The farmers who do manage to produce good yields often lack adequate food storage facilities, so their produce will rot before it can be used or sold. 

It might not be possible to change the weather but, with a few small changes, families who are struggling to get by can transform their farms into thriving businesses. 

Farm Africa is helping sorghum farmers like Elizabeth learn the best ways to plant and grow sorghum, as well as introducing them to a seed variety that is drought-tolerant. With better seeds and improved knowledge, Elizabeth and farmers like her have been able to grow a surplus of crops, even in dry conditions.

“I have been using improved sorghum seeds. Before, I was using local seeds and I was planting them randomly. Currently, I plant them in rows. Now that I use improved seeds, I am able to make more income."

Planting improved seeds and adopting better production practices allows farmers to increase their food security, as well as tap into a profitable market.

“The difference in my income means I have been able to build a new house from selling sorghum, as well as being sure of having food. Our current house is made of cement blocks and a corrugated iron roof. Before, we had a thatched grass roof on our house and there was always a lot of dust in the house – now, there is not.” 

To ensure that farmers’ impressive new yields don’t go to waste, Farm Africa has linked sorghum growers to cooperatives and warehouses where they can store their produce in protective environments, until it’s ready to be sold. 

Finally, to guarantee the road to success, Farm Africa is also linking farmers to buyers; many farmers from the project are now selling their sorghum to Tanzanian breweries. Now that’s success worth raising a glass to! 

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