Increasing access to sunflower seed in Tanzania 23 August 2022
Increasing the availability of improved and hybrid seed varieties is essential to growing sunflower yields among smallholder farmers in Tanzania, a new report published by Farm Africa has shown.
In Tanzania, around 6% of the land that is under agricultural production is being used for sunflower production. Sunflowers are mostly produced by one million smallholder farmers in 19 out of the total 30 regions of Tanzania, but production is mainly concentrated in the Central Corridor and the Southern Highlands.
The demand for sunflower products is growing in Tanzania, mainly to meet a growing domestic market for cooking oil.
However, most smallholder farmers struggle to meet this growing demand.
There are several systemic constraints that prevent smallholder farmers from achieving their productive potential. These include:
limited access to loans for investment;
lacking adequate supplies of improved seed;
working in unstructured and unregulated market systems;
not receiving proper business development services support;
agro-dealers being largely based in towns and peri-urban areas;
inadequate supply of seed during planting seasons.
These challenges have been aggravated by the war in Ukraine. Russia and Ukraine have been the leading producers and suppliers of sunflower products globally in recent years, but farmers have seen supply chain disruptions and an increase in fertiliser price due to the conflict.