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Cultivating crops in Tanzania

Concern Worldwide is helping farmers in west Tanzania to greatly improve the profit from their harvests. The extra cash has enabled more children in the area to receive an education.

Some of the farmers tried making a profit from crops such as cotton but the return was too low. So, one of our partners introduced sunflowers to the region in 2009, which has made a huge difference.

In west Tanzania, families have on average six children, so access to food is a priority. There is also a risk that children may not be able to go to school. 

Leonia Maliatabu, 45, said:

We all need the money. We will spend it on school fees, healthcare, improving our houses, other household items and our farming. 

Effective results

Because the sunflower crop matures early, it is cheaper to grow. It only needs to be weeded once before harvesting and it doesn’t need fertiliser. Sunflower seeds can be used to make oil to cook with or to sell and the remainder can be fed to livestock. 

Saidi Kamanango, 64, cultivated a quarter of an acre and harvested 70kg of seeds. He got 20 litres of oil and sold 15. He told me:

It was fortunate that we had the money because my wife was very ill. We had to spend all of the money from the oil on this. Thankfully now she is better.

Milling machine

Concern’s partner is also going to provide the farmers with a new milling machine. This new model is automatic and can process up to 1.5 tonnes of seeds in one day. It will be housed in Kazulamimba village, and farmers from other villages will transport their seeds to the machine. 

Some farmers have formed groups so they can contribute to the machine’s maintenance. They have also started to build a house for the machine. 

Hazina Kitentia, a 42-year old female farmer, said: 

When the machine comes we expect our family income will increase and we can have more control of our future.