THE Local Investment Climate (LIC) has embarked on a special programme to support smallholder sunflower farmers to uplift the level of productivity of the cash crop in Dodoma Region.
Mr Donald Lija, an investment reform adviser for LIC - Dodoma, said during an interview recently that the programme would provide smallholder farmers with improved sunflower seeds, saying so far 150 farmers had benefited from the programme.
“Some 2,000 smallholder farmers have shown interest in improved seeds given during the implementation of our programme,” he said. The LIC project addresses critical constraints in business growth and economic development.
The LIC project aims at improving the business and overall investment climate in Dodoma and Kigoma regions and support districts to strengthen competitiveness of the private sector.
Mr Lija said smallholder sunflower farmers were facing a few challenges in production of sunflower such as the use of recycled sunflower seeds and post-harvest losses.
He was elated to see increased sunflower production from three to eight bags per acre. “This means there is an additional income of 525,000/- per HH and about 380m/-more income for the village if the support benefits only 60 per cent of the entire 750 farmers, who had access to seeds,” he noted.
It is estimated about 150,000-200,000 small-scale farmers in the country grow sunflower. Although the cash crop is grown all over the country, over 50 per cent of it is grown in Dodoma (22.5 per cent), Kilimanjaro (13.2 per cent), Arusha/Manyara (13.1 per cent) and Singida (8.9 per cent). Other growing areas are Mbeya, Mtwara and Rufiji.