Over 978.47 MT of assorted commodities valued at USD 469,031 was collectively sold through the Commercial Village Model. Previously 80% of sales happened at farm gate.
In the East African region of Singida, Tanzania, agriculture employs over 90% of the total working population; even so, only 280,000 hectares out of a possible 1,134,400 hectares of arable land is currently used for productive agriculture. Smallholder farmers here face major challenges that hinder their potential in agricultural production hence affecting food security in the region. Against this backdrop, Farm Concern International, in August 2012, ventured into this territory. Partnering with World Vision Tanzania (WVT), FCI initiated the Expanded Market-Led Agriculture Programme (EMLAP) whose overall goal was to contribute towards improved community resilience, food security and climate change adaptation for the wellbeing of children among communities.
The project emphasized on empowering small scale farmers to understand market demand, market linkages and production of agricultural products that are market led. In a span of less than two years, the key objective of this programme looks to have been achieved if not surpassed. EMLAP impacted a total of 5,260 smallholder farmers exceeding the set target by 260 farmers. These farmers were structured into 33 Commercial Villages across the region. FCI ensured the training of these CVs on such thematic topics as savings, financial management, book keeping, post-harvest management, trade timing, bargaining skills and collective marketing. The training on various approaches led to the buying of about 14MT of different varieties of seed, purchase of 150 liters of fertilizer and 52 demo farms set up. Training on savings ensured that 80% of the members of CPGs are now actively saving and savings are now worth $313,500.
FCI, being a market development agency ensured that communities through this project appreciated the power of collective action. Through this initiative over 978.47 MT of assorted commodities valued at Tshs 750,449,600 (USD 469,031) were collectively sold through commercial village model. Prior to the intervention more than 80% of smallholder farmers used to sell their commodities while on farms.All CPG members were linked with reputable input suppliers through whom quality seeds were supplied in the most cost efficient way in the history of those villages. The linkage brought in added advantages to the farmers as they were trained on various areas including; the meaning of hybrid Verses OPV seed, counterfeited seed, means of input to be available at village level and the economies of scale by using hybrid seed. Over 14 tonnes of different varieties of seed were made available to CPG members from both Mtinko and Kinampanda ADPs through CV approach way before the rainy season could start in early December. Over 60% of households under project intervention were able to access quality hybrid seeds. 52 demo farms; 32 from Mtinko and 20 from Kinampanda ADPs brought in significant impact with many of communities members confessing that the knowledge was liberating. The exercise was organized and coordinated by CVFs in collaboration with extension officers.
This initiative resulted into the project obtaining considerable favor from government to an extent of setting apart 6 demo farms which were previously owned by CPG members for the purpose of ensuring involvement of every farmer in a village.
The project is implemented in Kinampanda and Mtinko ADPs in Singida region by a consortium of partners including; World Vision Tanzania (WVT), Micro Ensure (ME), Vision Fund Tanzania (VFT) and FCI with financial support from World Vision Australia.
The overall goal of the project is to contribute towards improved community resilience, food security and climate change adaptation for the wellbeing of children among communities. To this end, the project emphasizes on empowering small scale households to understand market demand, market linkages and market-led production of agricultural products. It is also geared towards empowering small scale households’ groups to access loans for inputs, implements and other services which add value to agricultural production.
EMLAP had the following achievements during its implementation: - conducted market opportunity survey which isolated 5 major value chains including sunflower, sorghum, millet, maize and poultry (local chicken) for promotion; Strengthened the informal markets by facilitating the linkage between 92 traders and target households; developed strategic partnerships with WVI-Tanzania, Vision Fund Tanzania and Micro Ensure for increased food productivity, profitability and resilience of farming systems.
Mr. Makame Mchahaji (Juhudi CPG) and Eifrida Joseph (Mjindami CPG) from Msisi CV are witnesses of transformation from the traditional subsistence farming to Commercial farming. Mr. Makame witnessed the importance of CVs and decided to shift from subsistence farming to commercial farming. Before the project’s intervention he used to cultivate 25 acres, however, with minimal yields.
With support and guidance from EMLAP, he now cultivates 7 acres. The yield from the seven acres is far much more than what he used to get from the twenty five acres. As a result, his income has increased following market linkages facilitation done by FCI. Elifrida is another beneficiary of the project. She attended several trainings on good agronomic practices and use of certified seeds conducted by FCI. She bought 24 kgs of hybrid maize seeds and 2 liters of foliar fertilizer for her use on the farm. As a result, her yields increased and now she is a lead promoter in the utilization of hybrid seeds.
FCI VISION : To have commercialized smallholder communities with increased incomes for improved, stabilized & sustainable livelihoods in Africa and beyond