ASA field day June2017

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Field day at Arusha Seed Farm
Ngaramotoni ya Juu, Arusha - Tanzania
28 June, 2017
[edit | edit source]

Background[edit | edit source]

Arusha Seed Farm is about five kilometers North West of Arusha town; along Arusha- Nairobi road. It is among the nine seed farms owned by the Agricultural Seed Agency (ASA) in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries. Its mission is to produce process and market high quality agricultural seeds for local and international markets. The farm measures 576 ha. This year, 423 hectares were sown to common beans, pigeon peas and sunflower for certified seed production. Maize seed production has been suspended due to severe incidences of maize lethal necrosis disease in recent years

Field day objective[edit | edit source]

  • To promote public/private partnerships in production and dissemination of certified and QDS bean seeds to small holder farmers in Tanzania

Organizers[edit | edit source]


Participants[edit | edit source]

  • Agro-dealers (9): Bajuta, Beula, Meru Agro, Yara, Satec, Agri seed, AgroZ bags, Mico Nair and one small scale entrepreneur selling PICS bags,
  • Around 700 farmers and extension agents from Arumeru, Mbulu, Babati, Hai, Siha and Same districts

Field day itinerary[edit | edit source]

  • Field trip: Participants were split into groups and taken through seed production blocks sown to Sunflower (Record), Common bean (Lyamungu 90, Lyamungu 85, Uyole-Njano) and Pigeon peas (Mali, Tumia, Kiboko, Ilonga M1, and Ilonga M2). Acreage under respective crops/varieties were: P.peas (105 ha ), Phaleolus beans ( 128ha), Sunflower (190 ha)
  • Visit to exhibition pavilions staged by agro-dealers: The pavilions had a diverse collection of inputs:- maize seeds, vegetable seeds, agrochemicals, PICS bags, fertilizers and various irrigation tools
  • Discussions: The discussions focused on farmers’ observations and speeches made by the Seed Farm Manager, Guest of honour; AGRA and CIAT representatives; and SARI Zonal Director representative.
  • In his speech, the Guest of honour (Mr. Wilson Mahera Charles) expressed concern on the prevailing low productivity levels for most crops. He went further to outline priority areas of an upcoming ten year agricultural development programme commencing July 2017 with support from Belinda and Bill Gates. Implementation of the programme demands high commitment and active participation of political leaders and non-political leaders at Regional, District and Ward levels. Arusha region has earmarked 13 priority crops including Common beans. The new initiative intends to tackle challenges related to markets and marketing; irrigation, agricultural extension services, research, dissemination of improved technologies and construction of road networks for smooth shipment of farm produce to markets.
  • AGRA -USAID (Ipyan Mwaisaka) and CIAT representative (Jean Rubyogo) presented a brief overview of Phaseolus Beans Seed Scaling Project sponsored by Belinda and Bill Gates/USAID. Through networking and active engagement of relevant development partners across the country, certified bean seed sales have increased from 5 – 10 tons/year prior to 2014 to 500 metric tons this season (2015/2016). QDS sales were around 1000 metric tons.
  • The Zonal director’s representative (R.Ngatoluwa) underscored the historical partnership between SARI and CIAT in developing market class bean varies for food and income generation. He commended the small seed packets (2kg) initiative designed to stimulate seed uptake by resource-limited small scale farmers.

Question on markets: A farmer enquired how to deal with middlemen; whether establishment of cooperatives could solve the challenge Answer: Best starting point is for farmers to organize themselves into producer and marketing groups that will enable them to out-compete middlemen in the open market

Key lessons/Observations[edit | edit source]

  • Identification and networking with stakeholders along the seed system promoted dramatic change of mind set towards commercialization of Phaseolus bean seed. In this particular case, the project mapped potential strategic partners; their strengths and weaknesses and gave them basic start-up support
  • Formal and informal seed systems are complementary. The twin- outreach channels appears to dismiss the traditional thinking - “bean is a self pollinating crop and therefore unprofitable to commercialize seed sales.
  • Packaging seed in small packets motivates resource-limited farmers to “try out” new seeds