In a bid to promoting knowledge sharing amongst its partners, the Agricultural Markets Development Trust (AMDT) recently organized the first Sunflower cross-projects learning event at the national level that brought together projects Co-facilitators, private sectors as commercial solution providers addressing the market constraints and social enterprises with innovations to test in the market.
This learning event came at an opportune time when the co-facilitators are approaching the end of the first year of the pilot phase and just planning for the second cropping season in the pilot phase.
The event took place on 29th and 30th October,2018 to showcase knowledge sharing best practices championed by AMDT as a learning institution gathering experiences amongst market actors at farmer level, implementing partners level and general stakeholder level in the sunflower program -pilot implementation phase.
Speaking at the opening of the event, the AMDT M4P Advisor, Mr. Mahmud Hossain on behalf of the Technical Director welcomed participants to the learning event. He highlighted the importance and opportunity the event presented for participants as to hear of the learning experiences from the first year of pilot phase and for them to use the session to explore future improvements and necessary adjustments in subsequent years.
“AMDT is a flagship M4P program in Tanzania that creates a platform to build the best practices of M4P approaches in developing the agricultural markets systems. Participants should use the avenue to share their experiences and added that this will be a yearly event on rotational basis and that the host for the next meeting would be chosen during the workshop,” he said.
Being the first of its type, the event attracted about 60 participants who actively contributed and participated through discussions and presentation, drawn from the AMDT partners pool and its co-facs such as Care International, Faida Mali, Aga Khan Foundaiton, SNV, farm Africa, QFP and other private sector partners such as Out Assurance, E-soko, SDC and Bytrade Tanzania.
Learning areas of the workshop highlighted included Input market systems, Access to key services, Access to Finance, Mechanization, Soil Care, Insurance, Contractual Arrangements, Market linkages, Farmers, Small Medium Enterprises, oil Refinery and the sector’s Business Environment issues.
On his side, the Market System Manager- sunflower portfolio, Mr Martin Mgallah said that the event was vital for reflection purposes as most of the interventions in Sunflower had evolved into the pilot phase following completion of the inception phase, thus it was high time the partners collectively assessed how the projects were doing, capture challenges and identify cross learnings opportunities from one another.
“I think we have a unique opportunity that we have all the sunflower projects and their market actors presented here in one place. It is a good mix of people with different experiences and backgrounds. The purpose is to exchange knowledge and to enhance cross fertilization of best practices and hear lessons learnt amongst implementers in an interactive way,” Martin added.
Contributing to the proceedings, Dr Vera Mgittu, a Technical committee member for the programme emphasized to partners on making the market systems work for the poor and for it to become sustainable.
She highlighted that participants should understand what is not working in the system at project level and the root causes for that. They should not focus on the number of farmers that benefited from the projects but rather work on putting systems in place that will make the market function sustainably while benefitting the productive poor.
The compelling, exciting and innovative fair provides a forum for participants with creative learning and sharing opportunities equipping them to better act and influence current and future issues relating to market systems development in the value chains selected by AMDT together with its partners.
The Agricultural Markets Development Trust (AMDT), is a pioneer Markets for Poor (M4P) program funded by DANIDA, IRISH AID and SIDA, currently with eight sunflower projects implemented together with Co-facilitators, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Market Actors from the private sector and other social enterprises in over 15 regions in the country. More interventions under other value chains specifically in Maize and pulses are in the offing.