AFAP’s program to increase fertilizer availability and usage in Tanzania took off in June 2013. Initial activities included:
- project inception workshops, which were aimed at introducing AFAP to the key stakeholders (regional and district government authorities, agrodealers, farmers’ associations and fertilizer manufacturers/importers);
- creening and selecting potential hub-agrodealers to work with AFAP;
- conducting field visits for data verification, geo-referencing and photo-taking; and
- Developing applications for APCs involving hub-agrodealers.
In two farming seasons – 2014/15 and 2015/16 – AFAP has been able to support hub-agrodealers with matching grants, credit guarantees, capacity-building training sessions and networking/business linkages, which have enabled them to distribute 103,950 tons of fertilizer with a value of $56,864,758 to 1,747,100 smallholder farmers. Prior to AFAP’s assistance, the hub-agrodealers sold only 77,780 tons with a value of $39,427,650 over three farming seasons, thus AFAP has contributed to a 34% increase in fertilizer sales (to its network of 29 hub-agrodealers) over only two farming seasons – a significant achievement.
The number of farmers served in the three seasons before AFAP was 938,169 compared with 1,747,100 served in only two seasons after AFAP’s intervention – an increase of 46%.
Hub-agrodealers sold 5,173 tons of seed worth $11,708,336. The input distribution was through a network of 489 rural-agrodealers.
Thirteen warehouses have been completed with a total storage capacity of 48,893 tons of additional storage. AFAP contributed $614,273 (in matching grants) out of total construction costs of over $2,429,229.
Through the AFAP Volunteer Program over 30 staff members from three organizations were trained on various technologies. Management and technical staff from the Tanzania Fertilizer Regulatory Authority (TFRA) received training on issues related to fertilizer quality control; staff from the Tanzania Fertilizer Company received capacity-building training in agronomy and marketing strategy; and staff from Minjingu Mines and Fertilizers Ltd were given marketing skills in order to promote the company’s fertilizer, and a marketing strategy and action plan were developed.
AFAP also provided training on business management, record keeping, marketing, fertilizer storage management and quality assurance to 30 hub-agrodealers and 60 rural-agrodealers/retailers. Furthermore, using the train-the-trainer approach, AFAP trained 26 extension officers from eight regions of Tanzania and 10 hub-agrodealers in the efficient and effective use of fertilizers, proper agronomic practices, and the use of inoculants and seed handling. This training is intended to benefit the smallholder farmers served by the hub-agrodealers through skills transfer.
AFAP chaired a stakeholders’ meeting to propose amendments to the fertilizer regulations to the Tanzanian Ministry of Agriculture. These regulations were approved and signed by the minister for agriculture in February 2017.
AFAP has also been involved in establishing and maintaining demonstration plots to train farmers in proper agronomic practices. At total of 43 one-acre demonstration plots for common and soybean have been established in two farming seasons in eight regions of Tanzania, and more than 12,000 smallholder farmers per season had access to these demonstration plots. Farmers participated in the preparation of these demonstration plots, thus learning by doing, which has made it easier for them to adopt the new practices. AFAP’s hub- and rural-agrodealers have established a total of 451 demonstration plots for various crops, including maize, rice, tomatoes, potatoes and horticultural crops. The agrodealers also organized 214 field days, which were attended by 8,925 farmers. It is estimated that more than 140,000 farmers had direct access to the demonstration plots established by the agrodealers.
AFAP is also working closely with the Agricultural Seed Agency (ASA) in organizing and undertaking a seed policy stakeholders’ forum as an initiative for amending various seed regulations. Counterpart organizations (under SILT) include IITA, FRI and CABI are working with AFAP to help ASA improve seed production. SILT has provided funds to ASA to improve production (which has increased from 70mt to 200mt to date). The role of AFAP here has been to collect effective demand data for soy bean and common beans seeds where there are demo plots. In collaborating with counterpart projects, AFAP is assisting ASA to improve seed production.
Through its technical assistance to Minjingu Mines and Fertilizer Company, AFAP conducted a geological study to assist Minjingu Mines and Fertilizers company to evaluate the Minjingu hill and pyramids phosphate rock deposits for possible expansion, the potential ore reserves, their quality, and potential for expanding the company’s fertilizer production.
AFAP Tanzania linked six agronomists from three hub-agrodealers – Rubuye Agro Business Company Ltd, Unyiha Associates Ltd and Bajuta International Ltd – to The Earth Institute at Columbia University to be trained in the use of soil-testing kits at Tanzania’s Sokoine University of Agriculture. On completion of their training, they were provided with soil-testing kits worth $5,000 each. The agronomists have analyzed at least 200 soil samples in their respective areas. This project is aimed at equipping the hub agrodealers to provide a much needed service to the smallholder farmers, analysis of their soils in-order to enable the farmers to purchase the right fertilizer blends for the soil and crop needs to increase their productivity.
AFAP is providing oversight in fertilizer inspection activities in collaboration with the Tanzania Fertilizer Regulatory Authority (TFRA) and the Mlingano Agricultural Research Institute. Fertilizer samples were taken from various suppliers, including ETG Inputs, Yara Tanzania, Tata Africa, Premium Agro Chem and Mohamed Enterprises, to ensure farmers are being served with high-quality fertilizers. Laboratory analysis of the collected samples indicated that the fertilizer quality conformed to Tanzanian standards.
AFAP is collaborating with other institutions to promote technologies geared toward increased crop productivity by smallholder farmers. AFAP worked with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in 2014/15 on the Compro-II Project, with the main objective of promoting the use of bio-fertilizers, namely legume fix (for soy beans), Nitrosua and bio-fix (for common beans). A total of 12 demonstration plots were established, in the Mbeya region, Ruvuma, Morogoro and in Tanga. At all sites there were yield increases of at least 30% in inoculated common/soy beans compared with non-inoculated plots.
AFAP is also collaborating with International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in scaling up the use of improved legume technologies in Tanzania (SILT) for the purposes of which common beans and soybean crops were planted in the 2015/16 and 2016/2017 farming seasons respectively. A total of 16 one-acre demonstration plots per season were established. The results of the 2015/16 bean demonstration plots indicated that farmers were able to achieve up to fourfold increases, a 98% increase in yields.
Photos: Agrodealer training in Tanzania