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Boosting sorghum production in a changing climate

Farm Africa / Mwangi Kirubi Farm Africa / Mwangi Kirubi

The problem

In the dry region of Dodoma, smallholder farmers rely on the sorghum they grow to feed their families. Low yields regularly push people into hunger. An increasingly volatile climate endangers smallholders’ food security. Adopting improved sorghum varieties and production practices can allow farmers to achieve a surplus, even in drought conditions.

A lack of secure food storage facilities and poor handling processes see much of farmers’ produce going to rot. Market demand for sorghum is rising but smallholders lack the yields, equipment and market systems to tap into demand.

What have we done so far?

The first phase of this project ran from 2019 to 2022 and equipped sorghum growers in Dodoma with the skills and resources they needed to transition from subsistence to commercial agriculture. The project helped to increase the productivity of sorghum farming by 30% by:

  • Supporting farmers to adopt new techniques that boost yields, build resilience to extreme weather and protect the environment.
  • Connecting farmers with businesses that sell tarpaulins, sacks and other on-farm technology to minimise waste.
  • Training warehouses and cooperatives to process and store farmers’ produce.
  • Supporting farmers to diversify crop production and develop long-term business plans to manage climate risks.
  • Using digital technology to provide farmers with market information so that they can decide when and how much to sell sorghum for.

What are we doing?

The second phase of the project will build on the successes and learning of the first phase. We will continue to support farmers in Dodoma to transition from subsistence to commercial agriculture as a way to boost economic growth and reduce poverty.

We will support farmers to build their climate resilience and food security through better access to markets and value chains and sustainable management of natural resources.

The project will provide farmers with:

  • Climate-smart and nutrition-sensitive skills to improve the quantity, quality and value of their sorghum.
  • Post-harvest handling and storage skills.
  • Equipment to maintain the quality and safety of their crops.
  • Access to financial services and profitable markets.

The project will also focus on empowering female farmers and young people, involving them in decision-making and income-generating activities.

Who are we working with?

This project is funded by Irish Aid through the World Food Programme.