TANZANIA Breweries Limited (TBL Plc) has partnered with the World Food Programme (WFP) for the 2021 sorghum season and over 4,000 farmers are set to benefit from the project.
The project is expected to produce 10,000 tonnes of sorghum per acre and TBL will buy it at 550/- per kilogramme.
TBL Plc Managing Director Philip Redman said in Dar es Salaam at the weekend that the 2021 project was an extension of last year's pilot project that had proven to be successful with yields 70 per cent better than previous years.
He also said that the pilot project aimed at training sorghum farmers in good agricultural practices (GAP), improving yields and the quality of sorghum and providing them with reliable market for their produce.
"Farmers will be pre-financed by NMB Bank and insured by Jubilee Insurance and will be credited high yielding seeds, fertiliser and other farm inputs which will be repaid at the end of the harvest season," he said.
The launch of sorghum seed distribution took place in Kongwa District recently where agricultural officers from TBL were able to hold meetings with farmers to discuss challenges facing them.
TBL officers met also with insurance service agents to provide insurance education about farmers.
TBL Plc Agriculture Manager Joel Msechu said: "This season the company rolled out BanQu Block chain technology to benefit more than 4,000 farmers which adds transparency and traceability to our supply chain. The BanQu will enable farmers to have an immutable digital record of their financial transactions, namely production, sales, purchases (inputs), repayments and will also enable farmers to be paid via mobile money."
He said the company for the moment was conducting a training session using modern technology to selected groups of agri-players, including farmers, aggregators and local government officials.
"This ensures food security for farmers and promotes financial inclusion, increasing the bankability of farmers. Increased production, with TBL as the buyer, will also serve as a source of income for them for improving their economic activities," he explained.
He added that there was a positive response from sorghum farmers interested in sorghum seeds more than the last season and the practice of providing them with seeds continued through their groups.
Speaking on behalf of other farmers during BanQu training held at the weekend, Sorghum farmer from Sagara B Village Farmers' Group Secretary Theodora Mgaya thanked TBL and its partners for building their capacity through sorghum farming that was previously not commercial.
TBL Plc currently sources 74 per cent of its raw materials locally and is committed to increasing its local sourcing over the coming years.
The company sources sorghum for the production of its fast-growing affordable brands - Eagle and Bia Bingwa.
TBL Plc's contribution to local sourcing and improve sorghum production is in line with government efforts to improve the livelihoods of many smallholder farmers and enhancing Tanzania's economy.