Agriculture is the core income generating activity in Tanzanian economy. Agriculture (including Livestock) provides livelihood, income and employment to over 80 per cent of the population. In Tanzania, BRAC started its agriculture programme funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2007 in order to increase income at farmer level, create employment opportunities and improve agricultural productivity through technical support to farmers. For successful implementation of the overall agriculture programme, BRAC has collaborated with national and international agriculture research organisations. It continues to address numerous challenges in terms of-cropping patterns, geographical barriers, quality inputs, market linkages, difficulty in reaching farmers living in extremely remote areas and risks of natural calamities due to climatic changes.
The agricultural sector is a major contributor to Tanzania’s GDP and provides employment to more than one quarter of the population, and remains an area where significant achievements can be made with small undertakings. However, cultivable land in Tanzania is limited to only 4% of the land area and although it’s ranked third in Africa after Sudan and Ethiopia, livestock husbandry does not suffice majority of the rural population. As a result, food insecurity is a significant factor in hampering progress towards Tanzania’s Vision 2025 and MDG1 targets”
BRAC through its Global Poverty Action Fund (GPAF) and Livelihood Enhancement through Agricultural Development (LEAD) projects address this gap by scaling up its women-oriented agricultural programme and provide quality, affordable agricultural inputs and training at the community level so as to improve agricultural productivity, food security, and income of the small and marginalised farmers.
BRAC’s agriculture programme builds capacity of farmers. It promotes the use of efficient farming techniques and proven technologies, linking them with market actors. BRAC produces and markets quality seeds at fair prices. Research is conducted to develop better varieties of seeds and agricultural practices. Credit is offered to support poor farmers.
Poultry and Livestock
BRAC started its poultry and livestock programme in Tanzania in 2007, funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The objectives of the programme were to increase income at the farmer level, create employment opportunities and improve livestock productivity and provide technical support to the poultry and livestock farmers. The poultry and livestock programme operates through its cadre of self-employed volunteers, community livestock and poultry promoters (CLPP) comprising of women who are experienced in rearing livestock and poultry. After selection, BRAC extensively trains them in livestock husbandry, health issues, vaccinations, and the production and conservation of fodder crops. Once trained, they generate income by charging farmers a fee for their services and consultation.
BRAC’s poultry and livestock programme aims to promote improved practices and modern technologies amongst poultry and livestock farmers. Through capacity development, boosting livestock productivity and reducing mortality to provide them with a supply of high quality inputs, and management of small and medium farm enterprises. BRAC also produces and markets day-old chicks, poultry feed and bull semen at fair prices. Poor farmers are given credit in the form of loans as support.
The phased out GPAF project funded by UKaid succeeded to provide quality, affordable livestock inputs and training at the community level with a special focus on women. The aim of the programme was to help poor farmers in Tanzania increase their livestock productivity and income. Under the GPAF livestock programme, BRAC provided training and input supply to community livestock promoters (CLPs) on poultry vaccination and basic treatment of poultry and livestock. Training and supply of inputs were provided to key poultry rearers, livestock farmers, artificial insemination (AI) service providers and traders. Demonstration farms, both layers and broilers are established in peri-urban areas to promote layer and broiler rearing in order to get better profit and disseminate the technology to other farmers.
BRAC started the Global Poverty Action Fund (GPAF) project supported by DFID in 20 branches through the agriculture and livestock programme, to provide quality and affordable agricultural inputs and training at the community level with a special focus on women while helping poor farmers increase their agriculture productivity and income.
Under GPAF agriculture, training has been provided to community agriculture promoters (CAPs) on crop cultivation and management and they have received inputs such as seed and fertilisers to start their income generating activities. To support the rural farmers, majority of whom are females, BRAC has provided training on crop production, technology and improved grain storage techniques. Kitchen gardeners have been trained on improving management and practice of different vegetable production. BRAC has also trained farmers on horticulture nursery. BRAC Tanzania has taken on a new innovative technique of a crop demonstration project, to promote improved farming practices and disseminate modern agricultural technologies amongst community farmers.
BRAC launched the livelihood enhancement through agricultural development (LEAD) project in Tanzania on 23 April, 2013. It is a four year project implemented and funded by DFID. LEAD project is aiming to improve the household income of more than 105,000 rural, poor and small farmers (65 per cent women) in the poultry and maize subsectors in 40 branches under 15 regions in Tanzania. LEAD project follows an approach of Marking Markets Work for Poor (M4P). The project aims to increase the overall access of inputs and technologies among poor farmers, and improve their performance in maize and poultry market system both of which are highly relevant to Tanzania’s rural poor.
LEAD project is targeting the poor, small and marginal farmers in the market system through coordination, and partnership with ongoing interventions to bring about large scale systemic change. The project outputs are:
- improved agronomic practices and application of agricultural technologies by developing improved market access (both input supply and market linkage)
- improve access to finance (support small scale loans for working capital and investments, appropriate financial for farmers) and stimulating private investment in the value chains
After the successful implementation of its inception phase on September 2013 in 10 branches, the project has extended its operation to all 40 branches. The project has provided capacity building training to general farmers, lead farmers, demo farmers and community poultry promoters.. BRAC provided trainings to selected agro dealers/agro vets to improve their understanding and application of proper business and management skills in running sustainable businesses. The LEAD project also organised value chain facilitation workshops between producer group, government and private sectors with the purpose of developing effective market relationships.
Greater awareness through training and facilitated linkages with traders has given farmers better access to non-local markets. Most significant is the large increase in the incidences of farmers finding buyers and transporting their own poultry products. Since the training, the percentage of farmers using these methods has more than doubled. Access to non-local markets has also increased by a significant amount, from six per cent to over 11 per cent. For maize, all sales methods have significantly increased amongst farmers from 1.2 percent to 8.4 percent.
The project has managed to develop partnerships with a number of private sector companies from poultry and maize sectors and is working together to make their inputs and services available at a smallholders level. LEAD team is maintaining regular communication with the partner companies and key persons to ensure planned activities are in progress. Moreover, the team also explored new companies relevant to maize and poultry sectors for linkage purposes.