A group of smallholder farmers in Tanzania has lamented the lack of reliable markets as a challenge to the growth of the sector.
The growers are asking the government to intervene in their situation to help them push the cash crop to the global market. The farmers argue that poor markets limit the potential of the sector to expand to new markets.
Another factor that has led to poor performance of the sector is poor quality seeds.
Farmers blame the low yields on the subpar seeds wasting their labour and other inputs to produce the crop. Such factors are vital to consider to boost production of the cash crop and improve its competitiveness in the sector.
Also, smallscale farmers do not have access to modern technologies which would bolster their economic activity.
One of the plans is to build a vast factory for the production of sunflower related products.
In 2016, over a million tonnes of sunflower seeds were produced but only 180 tonnes processed. More production will ensure the country has enough supply to meet the needs of the domestic market and export purposes.
The effect of trade on the East African nation’s economy has led to more revenue to support development projects and open other business opportunities.
This is after the government imposed taxes on imported crude palm oil and new strategies to improve the production level. The farmers are seeking partnerships and sponsorships to elevate the status of the industry.
President John Magufuli has welcomed foreign investments to boost the sectors and create employment in the process.
Sunflower seed production in Tanzania has been improving from 2000 to 2008 when the country produced 500,000 tonnes.
Efforts by the government and the private sector to increase production are needed to market the cash crop into bigger markets.
Certified quality seeds with high yields will give farmers a chance to penetrate other markets.