THE Tanzania Breweries Limited (TBL Plc) sorghum project has become a significant initiative in transforming the lives of Kondoa residents in Dodoma Region by providing reliable markets and increased income.
TBL contribution to local sourcing and intention to develop the sorghum industry is aligned with the government’s wider efforts to improve the livelihoods of many smallholder farmers and enhancing the country’s economy.
One of the beneficiaries of the TBL sorghum project, Ms Saada Athuman from Busi village in Kondoa District, credits TBL project for transforming her family’s life and providing a reliable market for sorghum.
She is among the 2000 smallholder farmers who were contracted to the TBL pilot project in collaboration with WFP and FtMA.
The trilateral project aimed to equip farmers with Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), improve the yield and quality of sorghum, as well as provide them with a guaranteed market for their produce.
Prior to joining the sorghum project, Ms Athuman and many other farmers in the area grew sorghum mainly for subsistence purposes.
Having started farming on a one acre piece of land for a couple of years, she has expanded her farming activities to 3 acres, with a lot to smile about.
“Growing white sorghum has enabled me to pay school fees for my children, renovate our family home and facilitate the drilling of a borehole that has catered for various domestic uses,” Ms Athuman said in an interview.
“I would like to thank TBL for their commitment towards the development of sorghum farming. Now that I have been a part of the TBL sorghum project, my yields have increased by 70 per cent. I am optimistic about being part of the next sorghum season, which will enable me to not only expand the cultivation of white sorghum but also a guaranteed market to sell my produce,” she said.
Busi Ward Councillor, Peter Sule said that sorghum farmers have improved their livelihoods due to the reliability of a good market unlike other crops produced in Kondoa. He also called on smallholder farmers to seize the opportunity to convert to commercial farming.
TBL Plc’s Agriculture Manager, Joel Msechu, said under the contract farming agreement, the largest brewer in Tanzania has purchased sorghum produced by 2,000 sorghum farmers in the Dodoma and Manyara.
Msechu said Tanzania’s smallholder farmers are an essential part of TBL’s supply chain. The programme has greatly improved sorghum farming and has proven to be conducive to improve both the yield and quality of sorghum in the country.
TBL currently sources 74 per cent of its raw materials locally and is committed to increasing its local sourcing over the coming years. The company sources around 9,000 tonnes of sorghum for the production of its fast-growing affordable brands namely Eagle and Bia Bingwa.