How WFP raises locals’ livelihoods, fights poverty

How WFP raises locals’ livelihoods, fights poverty

WORLD Food Programme (WFP) will continue working with the government to ensure that refugees and other vulnerable people in Tanzania, including host communities, are able to meet their basic food and nutrition requirements.

Making the revelation during the Second National Ecological Organic Agriculture Conference in Dodoma recently, WFP Head of Sub Office and Programme Policy Officer, Neema Sitta, further said the organisation is supporting the government efforts to combat malnutrition in all its forms and is distributing specialised nutritious foods to address stunting.

Citing a case study of how the organisation is improving the lives of host communities, she pointed that they have involved more than 22, 000 Dodoma household farmers, especially in six districts of Bahi, Chamwino, Kondoa, Chemba, Kongwa and Mpwapwa to grow sorghum in what is called CSA (Community Supported Agriculture.)

Explaining, she noted that it’s an arrangement where farmers’ products get ready market by consumers buying them in advance, saying: “Consumers become CSA members by paying an agreed amount at the beginning of the growing season, either in one lump sum or in installments.

“This is the third year of the CSA project, where more than 20,000 farmers have been trained on good agricultural practices and post-harvest management.

We guarantee the farmers ready markets, where currently they sell their sorghum at 500/- a kilo from 250/- the same quantity it used to be…for our support to smallholder farmers, we support them through our Climate Smart Agriculture which is funded by the Irish Aid, where so far the farmers get about 9bn/- annually after doing business with private buyers, buying their sorghum for consumption in South Sudan.”

The officer further said the support to the farmers has kept off middlemen, who used to fleece them and instead also sell their products direct to WFP for donation to refugee camps.

“We also work with SUA (Sokoine University of Agriculture) for sustainable FEATURESagriculture in the areas as well as MUHAS (Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences) for advice on sustainable nutritious foodstuffs so that Tanzanians get the right formula on balanced diet.

For development projects, WFP supports nutrition activities, smallholder farmers and through our supply chain, we procure locally from NFRA, CPB, smallholder farmers and private companies for WFP refugee support in the country and WFP country offices in Rwanda, Burundi, DRC, Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan,” he said. Dodoma is a drought prone region and sorghum is drought resistance.

WFP supports and encourages farmers to use good agricultural practices, including the use of improved sorghum seeds to improve production per acre rather than expanding acreages.

Because one of the biggest problem WFP found at the beginning of the project was lack of improved sorghum seeds, WFP in partnership with TOSCI (Tanzania Official Seed Certification), a government institute under the Ministry of Agriculture, have supported production of quality declared seeds (QDS)Xof sorghum.

This year, ToSCi has certified more than 17,900 tonnes of sorghum seeds as quality declared seeds. These kilos of seeds have been produced by sorghum farmers in Kongwa, Mpwapwa, Kondoa and Chamwino in 203 villages. “WFP connects farmers with TBL (Tanzania Breweries Limited) and South Sudan market.

This year alone, TBL needs 10,000 tonnes, but looks like farmers won’t be able to meet all the needs of TBL and South Sudan. More production is still required to meet the demand of the current sorghum market in the country and outside the country.

“For South Sudan, private buyers have been buying directly from sorghum farmers for sorghum market in South Sudan…through WFP connecting farmers with TBL and the South Sudan market, the middleman has been removed, giving farmers good prices for what they produce, and this has seen sorghum price shooting up by more than 100 percent, from 250/- to 550/.

“As of mid-October, farmers in Kongwa, Mpwapwa and Bahi alone sold more than 17, 400 tonnes of sorghum and earned more than 9bn/-, and in addition, the project is also connecting farmers with financial institutions.

Last year, as a pilot case, some 181 farmers received 74/- from NMB to support sorghum production, and this year we are reaching out to NMB and TADB to secure more loans for farmers.

“In addition, we launched a project in partnership with the government and Farm Africa to be implemented in the six districts to conserve the environment, where last year it established a tree nursery of 10,000 glaricidia tree seedlings which were later distributed to farmers.

Glaricidia is rich in nutrients and has been used to enrich the soil and widely used for animal feeds. This year the project has established 60, 000 tree seedlings, where 10 000 will go to every district,” he said. On livelihood support, the project is designed to address food and nutrition security.

After the harvest of sorghum, farmers are engaged in gardening activities to ensure availability of fruits and vegetables throughout the years, but also as source of income, the same farmers have been trained on nutrition sensitive agriculture.

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Author: DAILY NEWS Reporter

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