Rice farmers in Idodi, Mapogoro, Tungamalenga and Makifu Schemes of the Iringa region in Tanzania have long been struggling to access quality fertiliser to improve their rice farms. This is owing to the area being remote and due to the poor road infrastructure, which makes transport of goods very costly.
Idodi farmers receiving fertilisers
IMAP4CSA project in partnership with Ruaha Milling Company Limited - who in turn has partnered with a local agro-dealer in Iringa called Alfa Agrovets Suppliers Limited - and local village-based agents is now supplying fertiliser to farmers so they can assure the miller of a constant supply of paddy. This has enabled bulk purchase of fertiliser by farmers thereby enabling Alfa Agrovets Suppliers Limited to “see” business in supplying the farmers. The local agro-dealer is benefiting through more sales of fertiliser as his client base has increased by the newly created business linkage with Ruaha millers’ engaged farmers in the irrigation schemes.
50% of saving from loan interest payment rates
With this intervention farmers have been saved from loan interest payment rates of close to 50% that informal traders were offering them in the past.
This arrangement also complements the government’s subsidy programme, which is not accessed by all rice farmers. Farmers who accessed the fertiliser for the current season are anticipating bumper harvests and also large yield increments as a result of availability of the fertiliser on time. They also benefit of other project interventions including training on good agronomic practices via technology demonstration and improved farm practices through the use of sustainable production practices.
Mrs Imelda Mlowe, 58 years of age, is a mother of 3 children and female farmer in Iringa. She has been growing rice for over 20 years. Imelda normally sources fertiliser from Iringa town at her own cost.
Sometimes I was getting fertiliser very late because I didn’t have all the money to buy it at once. As a result, I was harvesting only 0.6 – 0.7 MT/ha.
Through IMAP4CSA project, I received fertiliser on loan at the very right time and I am expecting to harvest 1.3 MT/ha. I would like this project to continue until I can fully fund myself.” explains Mrs Imelda Mlowe about the fertiliser loan.
Mr. Ibrahim Kisegendo, a male farmer in Iringa, 40 years of age, is among the beneficiaries of the fertiliser loan from Alfa Agrovets Suppliers Limited.
“I used to harvest on average 4.3 MT of paddy from my rice farm of 1.2 ha.
This was because I did not apply enough fertiliser since I could not afford to pay upfront the required cost.
Now with the fertiliser loan, I’m expecting 4.5MT of paddy rice from the same plot because I applied the right amount of fertiliser at the right time.”
And he adds: “Previously it was very hard to finance both fertiliser purchase and farm operations from my pocket at the same time; but IMAP4CSA project has really helped to reduce this pressure so that I obtained fertiliser on loan”.