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Flourishing futures

Farm Africa / Eliza Powell Farm Africa / Eliza Powell

The problem

In Tanzania, growing demand for cooking oil has been met largely by palm oil imports rather than increased sunflower oil production.

Poor farming techniques and sunflower plants’ vulnerability to drought keep farmers’ yields low.

Low working capital means that oil producers can only buy and process a fraction of farmers’ sunflowers, capping sunflower oil production at a quarter of its potential.

What are we doing?

Since 2017, with funding from AMDT, Farm Africa has been providing technical assistance to actors working across the Tanzanian sunflower sector to meet growing domestic demand for cooking oil.

Upskilling farmers and cooperatives

This project is working with agricultural cooperatives and 10,000 of their members to support farmers to establish or develop sunflower businesses. The project is increasing production by:

  • Encouraging farmers to plant a new hybrid variety of highly productive and drought-tolerant sunflowers.
  • Delivering training in good agricultural practice and climate-smart agriculture techniques to 4,000 farmers.
  • Providing cooperatives with training in organisational management, production, aggregation and sunflower marketing.

Working with processors

This project will increase the amount of oil small and medium-sized sunflower processors produce. We are supporting them to:

  • Improve their recordkeeping and financial management skills to make them eligible for loans and credit.
  • Adopt new practices that will increase the amount of oil they extract from seeds.
  • Build relationships with hybrid sunflower seed growers.

Bundled services and trade

Greater collaboration between farmers, traders and processors would benefit everyone involved in Tanzania’s sunflower industry. By facilitating relationships, contracts and trading arrangements between market actors, Farm Africa will create the business environment needed to unleash the sector’s potential.

Why sunflower?

In northern and central Tanzania, climate change is making weather patterns increasingly unpredictable, limiting smallholders’ ability to plan for the future. Sunflower is the ideal crop for economically-vulnerable farmers living in challenging and changing climates.

The hybrid variety of sunflower seed Farm Africa promotes can tolerate droughts and erratic weather conditions.

Small-scale farmers often lack the financial means to start growing new crops. The upfront and ongoing costs of sunflower production are low, whilst demand and return on investment are high, making the crop a low-risk investment for farmers.

Who are we working with?

This project is funded by The Agricultural Markets Development Trust (AMDT).

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