Background to the Sunflower Sector

Sunflower is one of the important sectors in RLDP Central Corridor of Tanzania. Sunflower sector contributes 40% of edible oil in Tanzania while 61% of the national sunflower production happens in the RLDC intervention area. The crop is adaptable to dry conditions which characterize most part of the Tanzanian central corridor. This sector employs around 250000 households with average of 1 to 5 acres and dominantly hand hoe cultivation. One of the major opportunities is that sunflower requires low investment by farmers, as well as increasing demand for sunflower oil & cake.
In 2007, RLDC did a market assessment in the sunflower sector which resulted into identification of various constraints facing the sector, among them are low accessibility and usage of quality seeds by sunflower farmers, lack of proper agronomic skills to farmers for growing sunflower, low prices paid to farmers because of poor quality of sunflower produced, low quality of sunflower oil produced by processors and lack of proper marketing strategy like branding and packaging. All of the above have been resulting into low productivity to farmers and poor quality of both sunflower produced by farmers and sunflower oil produced by processors. Due to this, RLDC through a sunflower sector decided to work mainly with private sector in order to improve sector’s market systems. The private sector players the sunflower sector has been using to solve the above mentioned constraints are sunflower oil processors, financial institutions, seed producers, service providers, apex associations and sunflower farmers. Furthermore, considering the complexity of the identified constraints and the sector itself the sector has also been involving other important stakeholders like local government authorities (LGAs), Regulatory bodies like Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS), Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute (TOSCI) and Tanzania Foods and Drugs Authority (TFDA), Ministry of Industry, Trade and Marketing (MITM) and Small Industries Development Organization (SIDO). 
In this fourth phase of four years (April 2012 to March 2016), RLDC will continue with its similar approach in sunflower sector and more emphasis is on replication and up scaling of interventions.

Sunflower Sector Market Constraints

In 2007, RLDC did a market assessment in the sunflower sector which resulted into identification of various constraints facing the sector, among them are low accessibility and usage of quality seeds by sunflower farmers, lack of proper agronomic skills to farmers for growing sunflower, low prices paid to farmers because of poor quality of sunflower produced, low quality of sunflower oil produced by processors and lack of proper marketing strategy like branding and packaging. All of the above have been resulting into low productivity to farmers and poor quality of both sunflower produced by farmers and sunflower oil produced by processors. Due to this, RLDC through a sunflower sector decided to work mainly with private sector in order to improve sector’s market systems. The private sector players the sunflower sector has been using to solve the above mentioned constraints are sunflower oil processors, financial institutions, seed producers, service providers, apex associations and sunflower farmers. Furthermore, considering the complexity of the identified constraints and the sector itself the sector has also been involving other important stakeholders like local government authorities (LGAs), Regulatory bodies like Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS), Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute (TOSCI) and Tanzania Foods and Drugs Authority (TFDA), Ministry of Industry, Trade and Marketing (MITM) and Small Industries Development Organization (SIDO). 
 

Intervention 1- Contract Farming Innovations

RLDC Contract Farming Intervention seek to innovate contract farming in sunflower sector market, adoption of best agronomic practices, use of post harvesting equipments and the use of quality seeds.

Contract Farming Strategy

In 2008, RLDC decided to introduce contract farming (CF) model in the sunflower sector as a way of improving productivity and sales of sunflower at farmers’ level. The intervention aimed at building a better relationship and harmonization between small farmers and sunflower oil processors. The introduction of CF model was meant to address problems of services provision to sunflower small producers like provision of quality seeds, introduction of better agronomic practices, extension services and good markets for their produce. RLDC took a more active stand in facilitating to work out the content of such contracts, securing agreements and implementing the contract. At the beginning RLDC worked with only one partner (Kiteto Agribusiness Company Limited in Kiteto District, Manyara Region) with the aim of establishing a model for contract creation and implementation. After piloting with one partner in Kiteto and didn’t get desired results, RLDC learned some lessons and decided to use Action Learning (AL) program to introduce contract farming into a group of processors. Action Learning is a continuous process of learning and reflection, supported by colleagues, with an intention of getting things done. Through Action Learning individuals learn with and from each other by working on real problems and reflecting on their own experiences. The sharing of experiences and learning results were meant to coach participants to go through the difficult time of introducing contract farming properly. The aim was to bring private companies together to share experiences, exchange challenges and recommendations in adopting contract farming for securing adequate raw materials for their factories while securing market access for producers and improving sunflower quality and yields through access to quality seeds, improved agricultural practices/skills and extension services.

The specific objectives for the program was, to establish an Action Learning Community of oil processors who share experiences and learning during the process of introducing contract farming, to identify challenges and solutions for introducing contract farming in the sunflower sector, to enable RLDC to better understand and support the process of introducing contract farming.

Read the whole Sunflower Sector Market Development Strategy here.