Perspectives Volume 40, Number 1 - Page 15

Benefits Tanzanian Farmers In Tanzania, smallholder rice farmers often use indigenous seeds saved from previous seasons’ harvests to plant their fields for the coming season. As these seeds are used over several generations, they become prone to various diseases and lose their potency. Weak and damaged seeds lead to lower yields than what could be produced. To combat this, the USAID Feed the Future NAFAKA Staples Value Chain Activity provides training to seed producers in rural areas of Tanzania. This project trains seed farmers to become Qualified Declared Seed (QDS) producers and certified seed producers. Once qualified, these farmers can grow and sell their seeds to national distribution companies or to neighboring farmers, which in turn grants more access to quality seeds to smallholder farmers across the country. Chetu Omari, a farmer involved in the program, decided to qualify as a seed producer. In conjunction with better farming practices such as using FDP along with the qualified seeds, Chetu noticed an increase of six times what she was producing earlier. In her first year as a QDS producer, Chetu sold 2.3 tons of QDS harvested from her one acre of land to 105 farmers in her village. From the one acre, she earned 2.3 million Tanzanian shillings ($125.30) per acre, after which she graduated to a certified seed producer and entered into a contract to sell directly to a national seed company. She has tripled seed production and appreciates the security of a guaranteed market, saying, “I can testify that there is a significant difference between farming in the improved way and farming in the old way.” Currently, NAFAKA has certified 91 seed producers, of which 47 percent are female. These seed producers have vastly improved the economic opportunities for farmers, while also creating market access to high-quality seeds. The newly certified producers have sold 34 metric tons of QDS and 240 metric tons of certified seed, increasing productivity for Tanzanian smallholder farmers. IFDC Magazine 15