The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will provide funding to assist 6,240 vulnerable small-scale farmers in rural Tanzania impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through its Rural Poor Stimulus Facility (RPSF), IFAD will provide USD 882,841 as part of its COVID-19 response in Tanzania.
Border closures and strict COVID-19 protocols have limited access to agricultural markets for many small-scale farmers.
Growth in Tanzania’s agricultural sector was projected to decline from 5% in 2019 to 2% in 2020 due to the recent locust infestation and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decline in growth has resulted in a number of negative impacts including high cost of inputs and limited access to markets with small-scale farmers bearing the brunt.
To improve this, the grant will support the National Food Reserve Agency purchase maize grain from the farmers, under its current plan to boost its reserve.
To help boost productivity, the grant will distribute 23,650 kilograms of bio-fortified maize seeds, 14,460 kilograms of sunflower seeds and 971,000 seedlings of fruits and vegetables.
In addition, the grant will help safeguard the gains made under the Marketing Infrastructure, Value Addition and Rural Finance Support Programme (MIVARF)–an IFAD supported project that closed in 2020–by using its existing agro-input distribution system to reach the targeted farmers.
The grant will also support the scaling up of the M-Kilimo platform, a mobile based agriculture application that helps farmers’ access extension and advisory services and market related information at the palm of their hands.
The IFAD will target farmers, as well as agro-dealers, off-takers and extension officers in Dodoma, Njombe, Simiyu, Singida and Unguja regions.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light the vulnerability of our food systems. To ensure we build a sustainable and resilient food system, we need to recognize the role small-scale farmers play and empower them to access inputs, information and markets for their produce,” said Francesco Rispoli, IFAD Country Director for Tanzania.
Since 1978, IFAD has financed 16 rural development programmes and projects in the United Republic of Tanzania for a total cost of USD 917.0 million, with an IFAD investment of USD 402.5 million, directly benefiting more than four million rural households.