Sunflower is a major oil seed crop in Tanzania affecting the livelihoods of many farmers in the country. Most of the famers in Tanzania are using farm saved seeds, followed by a very small area under Certified Open pollinated varieties. The average yield of Sunflower in Tanzania is very low (0.7 MT/ ha) compared to the global average of about 1.7 MT/ ha. This is mainly due to use of poor quality seeds which is a result of ignorance of farmers about high yielding hybrids and low or no use of fertilizers. Hybridisation in sunflower started very recently with the release and introduction of Advanta hybrids. During the last couple of years, Advanta has conducted extensive trials and demos using high yielding hybrids with excellent results in terms of higher productivity (up to 1.2 MT/ ha) and profitability to farmers.
Advanta has partnered with FIPS – Africa, an NGO working with more than 350,000 small farmers in Tanzania helping them to improve productivity levels in a range of crops like Maize, Banana, Cassava, Sunflower and vegetables. They operate through Network Co-Ordinators at District level under whom are an average of 50 to 100 Village Based Advisors (VBA’s) in each District. These VBA’s are self-employed Lead Farmers in each village who distribute small seed packets to farmers and then advise the farmers on crop practices and co-ordinate in the success of the trials. In each village there is a Mother Demonstration (half or one acre) which is conducted in the Centre of the village followed by many Baby Demos (done by farmers with the small packets). In the year 2016-17, FIPS established demonstrations for Sunflower in 19 Districts in which 980 VBA’s were involved in 980 villages with 1960 Mother demonstrations and 12,000 Baby Demonstrations. The seed were distributed to the farmers in 50 gms packets for the baby demonstrations while the mother demonstrations will be covered by 300 gms packets.
In the year 2017-18, we distributed through FIPS-Africa with 19,640 small packets of Hybrid Sunflower, Hysun 33 Variety which was distributed to 660 VBA’s (Village based Agri Advisors) in 23 Districts in Tanzania. The sunflower was planted in the Southern Highland Regions as well as in Singida, Dodoma, Manyara Regions. The trials were followed up by periodical field visits by the Bytrade as well as FIPS village-based advisors (VBA’s). Field Days were conducted in many the potential areas in which farmers were trained on cultivation of Hybrid Hysun 33.
The field days conducted in different Sunflower growing areas of Tanzania have proved effective in educating the farmers on the benefits of using hybrid sunflower in terms of increased yields and overall increase in income levels of the farmers.
Stockists Training Programme-
Stockists in various Sunflower growing areas of Tanzania were trained on the Agronomy of Sunflower, Hysun 33 as also on the added benefits of growing the crop. These series of Trainings were conducted during Oct-Nov 2017
The table below shows the summary of the programme-
NO OF STOCKIST TRAINED
A total of 112 Stockists were trained on various aspects of Sunflower cultivation including Agronomy, Plant Protection, judicious use of fertilisers as well as Cost-Benefit analysis of growing and benefitting from growing hybrid Sunflower. The Stockist went back enlightened on all aspects of selling hybrid seeds vis a vis the Open Pollinated Varieties.
Oil Millers form an important part of the Value Chain in the Sunflower market cycle. They are the market for all the Sunflower being produced by the farmers. A sensitisation programme on the increased benefits of utilising Hysun 33 grains for threshing as well as the higher oil out turn was done in Makambako in Southern Tanzania in April 2017. A total of about 22 small and medium scale Oil Millers participated and benefitted from the Programme. This type of trainings will be replicated in all other regions in the coming planting season.
A Field Day was conducted in Sekutule Village in Singida Region in Central Tanzania on 16th May 2018. This was organised by Faidha Mali, Advanta Seeds, Bytrade Tanzania Ltd, our Distributor in Tanzania and also the nodal Agency, AMDT. The list of participants included the Irish Ambassador to Tanzania, Mr. Paul Sherchock and Members of the Irish Parliament, Mr. Bolly Edward, Mr. Allan Fennel and Mrs. Catherine O’ Connell. The Irish Government is one of the major donors for this Sunflower hybridisation Project in Tanzania. The Project is in operation from Dec 2016 up to Dec 2021. Other Participants included the Regional Commissioner of Singida, Mrs. Rehema Nchimbi as well as leading sunflower farmers, Insurance Company officials, officials from National Microfinance Bank as well as a select few Oil Millers. In total there were about 62 farmers who participated enthusiastically for the Field Day.
The Television as well as Print Media were on the ground and an extensive coverage was made of this Field Day. The news of this event was broadcast of FM Radios in the Region as well as the Newspaper, The Monitor, a leading English Newspaper published from Dar Es Salaam.
ROLE OF AMDT IN POPULARISING HYBRID SUNFLOWER IN TANZANIA
Agricultural Market Development Trust (AMDT) established to support better coordination between value chain development initiatives, enhance and improve the understanding of agricultural market systems, improve productivity and market access for micro, small and medium enterprises, maximise the impact of programmes and more effectively contribute to reducing poverty in Tanzania.
AMDT operates in Tanzania through partner NGO’s like Faida Mali, Agha Khan Foundation, Farm Africa, CARE, SNV who are the implementing agencies in the Field. The Implementing agencies along with the Seed Distributor ensure that the Sunflower hybrid seeds reach the small and medium scale farmers on time. The seeds are distributed mostly through the farmers’ co-operatives in the regions. Partner Agencies, along with the Distributor, Bytrade Tanzania Limited and Advanta Seeds conduct promotional programmes like Crop trials, Field Days, Farmers Meetings, Crop Seminars and Farmers Training programmes. Sensitization of the Oil Millers on the benefits of utilising Hybrid Sunflower grains over the normal varieties are also planned to be done in the coming season.
The impact of the Hybridisation drive for adoption of Hybrids have been seen over the past planting season of 2017. Farmers have been able to purchase the hybrid seeds despite its higher cost and able to get higher yields. The benefits of adopting hybrids in terms of increased yield and profitability has been communicated to farmers though Cost-Benefit analysis has been done in all the farmers field days as well as training programmes. During the Stockists training programme, the detailed explanation on the benefits have been well received by the participants.
Advanta acknowledges the pivotal role played by AMDT in helping the small holder farmers in adoption of hybrid sunflower through the implementing agencies (NGO’s) and all other stake holders such as seed suppliers, agro dealers, oil millers, financial institutions etc. This has huge impact in popularising the adoption of sunflower hybrids resulting in increased yield, thus improving the productivity and profitability of farmers. It also ensures Tanzania moving towards self-sufficiency in edible oil production, as sunflower is a key oil seed crop of the country, thus saving precious foreign exchange for the country.
The success of hybrid sunflower seed adoption in Tanzania has been a slow and steady process and it will lead to a higher adoption rates in due course of time. The multiple stakeholders like AMDT, their implementing partners, Seed Companies like Advanta and Bytrade have all played an important role in this Project. We hope that in the years to come Tanzanian farmers adopt more usage of Hybrid Sunflower seeds thus increasing the edible oil production thus improving the productivity and profitability of farmers and ensuring attaining self-sufficiency in edible oil production and saving on the much-needed foreign exchange. Advanta as a valuable partner is in the forefront of this august program, actively participating in providing the high yielding hybrid seeds through its global research program and educating farmers on the crop production technology through its local partner Bytrade.