Agriculture Business Climate Community Development

WFP tells agri-preneurs to eye sorghum farming


THE World Food Programme (WFP)—the biggest buyer of relief food in the country for its operations in the East African region has urged agri-preneurs to step up production of sorghum as there is waiting market.

The WFP Country Representative Michael Dunford said here on Tuesday that there huge opportunity for farmers and agri-businesses in the country to mint money by selling his organization sorghum.

He spoke after a wagon ferry, Mv Umoja departed Mwanza South port carrying 19 rail wagons full of humanitarian food assistance for WFP operations in South Sudan.

That shipment marked the re-opening  of the rail-lake rail corridor on Lake Victoria which had closed over 10 years. Since its re-opening, WFP has transported almost 36,000 metric food across Lake Victoria by using the rail wagon ferry, 40 percent of that coming from local purchases. That has helped to boost the economy and supporting smallholder farmers, he said.

In 2018, WFP purchased 4,800 metric tonnes of sorghum from Tanzania that is an opportunity for the crop’s farmers in the country, the Representative of WFP in the country, Michael Dunford has said.

Dunford made the remarks in Mwanza on Tuesday during the flagging off ceremony of Mv. Umoja that plies between Mwanza South port and Port bell, Kampala Uganda where WFP is a key stakeholder of the vessel’s operations.

According to Dunford, WFP supports the climate smart sorghum project for smallholder farmers with focus on the crop’s value chain in central part of the country, mainly Dodoma.

The aim is to improve smallholders’market access and resilience to climate change through the adoption of good agricultural practices, a revolving fund to access improved seeds and organization of farmers into marketing groups, he said.

He noted that to date 6,000 farmers in Dodoma have been reached under the climate smart sorghum project that helps farmers to diversify crops and provide another opportunity for export for humanitarian operations.

Tanzania is one the piloting countries of the Farm to Market Alliance (FtMA) that is a consortium of eight global public and private sector partners that include Bayer, Grow Africa, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Rabobank, Syngenta, Yara International, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and WFP, he noted.

He stated that in 2018, FtMA supported 26,000 smallholder farmers, 40 percent women by providing access to affordable input and output finance, access to improved farming practices as well as improved post-harvest handling, storage and crop aggregation and access to share markets.

WFP leads the agricultural component of the Kigoma Joint Programme (KJP)  that is a joint United Nations (UN) initiative designed to support refugees and communities in Kigoma region.

It was involved in the formulation of the second phase of the Global Framework for Climate Services GFCS) that was launched in September last year. The project is still in its initial development and will be piloted in Mwanza, he noted.

He stated that with the beyond cotton project, WFP through south-south cooperation, aims to help small scale cotton farmers and public institutions in the country to commercialize cotton by products such as oil and cottonseed meal and other products from crops combined to cotton production such as corn, sorghum and beans.

According to him, aim of the initiative is to contribute to increasing the income of smallholder farmers and improving their food nutrition security’.

Source: IPP Media

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende