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Linking smallholder farmers to organic sunflower markets

The lure for better prices is increasingly pulling smallholder conventional sunflower farmers to go organic, with more joining in across central Tanzania. Dodoma and Manyara regions have seen a surge in number of farmers switching to organic sunflower production, citing less use of expensive inputs as another main reason why they now prefer organic over conventional sunflower.

Most of these new converts now practice both conventional and organic sunflower farming on different locations, as a strategy to get the best of both worlds. Another reason is the conservational nature of organic, which benefits the soil in their farmlands.

AMDT is investing over Tanzanian shillings 450 million (USD 196,153) in facilitating interventions that links smallholder organic sunflower farmers in three districts in the two regions to established local and international markets. The initiative covers Mpwapwa and Kongwa districts (Dodoma) and Kiteto district (Manyara) and is implemented by partners and third-party market actors, who engage in the direct execution of project activities aimed at developing the sub-sector. The partners are private sector stakeholders and technical outfits engaged in agricultural development.

This is a 6-month project with overall goal to increase and sustain incomes for 5,000 smallholder organic sunflower farmers. The main purpose of AMDT’s investment in this is to address two major systemic constraints: 1) Stimulating the market for improved sunflower seeds, and 2) Enhancing pro-poor linkages and contractual arrangements between smallholder farmers, small-scale processors, and larger processors/buyers.