Climate Resilient Agribusiness For Tomorrow (CRAFT) on Potatoes in Tanzania

“Climate Resilient Agribusiness For Tomorrow,’’ (CRAFT) is a five year program executed by various Dutch and local organizations and financed by the Netherlands. The project promotes climate-smart agriculture to transform and reorient agricultural systems to the new realities of climate change. In Tanzania, CRAFT is working with smallholder farmers, especially those vulnerable to climate change effects, and brokers private and public sector partner collaboration to create an enabling environment for wide scale adoption of climate-smart agriculture practices and technologies.

Ambassador Mr. Wiebe de Boer visit to the CRAFT Potato project with EA Fruit Farm Company on 15 September, 2021 in Mbeya

Under CRAFT, SNV and Agriterra are strengthening the potato sector in Tanzania, by providing investment funds, farmer training focusing on climate smart good agricultural practices, creation of market linkages between potato companies, farmer groups and cooperatives, finance institutions and agro input dealers.

The traditional system of potato farming is no longer profitable. Farmers can no longer only depend on the rains. Climate change threatens crop yields, with many areas in Tanzania experiencing rising temperatures, unpredicted rainfall patterns, and increasing extremities such as prolonged droughts. Farmers have lost hope in potato farming due to low yields and poor quality of their produce which in return affects their household income and livelihood.

Farmer trainings and testimonies

With the establishment of irrigation schemes through the CRAFT project implemented by East Africa Fruits Farm Company Limited in partnership with SNV in early 2021, smallholder farmers are trained to gain knowledge and skills that will help them to improve their yields and quality of potatoes through climate-smart agriculture practices and technologies. Now farmers can grow potatoes on a consistent schedule, creating more reliable food supplies.

Edson Msigwa a 48-year-old member of Lisitu farmer group, Makete District, says, “Before joining the farmers field school, I used to plant potatoes traditionally at my 1-acre farm plot and harvested 40bags-50bags only. But now with the irrigation scheme and use of climate-smart agriculture practices, I harvest 146 bags from the same 1-acre plot. I am very proud to get support from EAFFC and CRAFT Project and I encourage other farmers to use this opportunity to learn through Farmer filed schools training to increase productivity.”

Project Impact

In addition SNV and Agriterra are working with the cooperative Isowelu in Njombe. Isowelu is a young cooperative with around 419 active farmers producing potatoes for the Tanzanian market. Under CRAFT the aim is to improve the climate resilience of these potato farmers and increase their yields from 5 to 7,5 tons per acre, thereby increasing revenues of the cooperative. Increasing access to improved potato seeds combined with agronomy advice is an important condition for farmers to increase productivity. The ambition of Isowelu, with the support of CRAFT, is to expand its members to 1,000 active farmers, producing potatoes and supplying local and regional markets in Tanzania and East Africa. This combined effort is also a nice example of bringing in expertise from Dutch Agri-agency Agriterra on cooperative development and HZPC on offering new improved varieties seeds to potato farmers in Tanzania.

About the program

The CRAFT program is implemented by SNV a Netherlands Development Organization in cooperation with Wageningen University and Research, CGIAR’s Climate Change Agriculture Security Program, Agriterra, and Rabobank under the financial support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherland (DGIS). It is a five years (2018-2022) program covering Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. More information on the CRAFT project can be found here: Climate Resilient Agribusiness for Tomorrow (CRAFT) | SNV World

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