On the production side, CRSP(T) trains government extension officers and “lead farmers” so that they can organise farmers into groups. Within the groups, farmers share knowledge and apply new technologies and cultivation techniques to their crops. In particular, CRSP(T) helps farmers to increase productivity by testing new approaches to the management of plants, soil, water and nutrients. Irrigation is a particularly important component and CRSP(T) is collaborating with government to improve community-managed irrigation infrastructure on six schemes covering almost 2,000 acres.
To date, these interventions have reached approximately 54,000 farmers (44 percent female), increased rice production by approximately 100 percent, and improved sesame production significantly. To support southern Tanzania’s move away from subsistence farming towards a more market-based agricultural economy, CRSP(T) is facilitating relationships between private companies and local actors including 15 cooperatives, contract farming groups, and village-based agents linked to agro-dealers and agro-processors. CRSP(T) trains all of these groups on improved marketing and business management practices. This enables farmers to purchase inputs (like seed and fertiliser) in bulk to reduce costs and increases the supply of high quality produce. This in turn helps raise incomes by enabling farmers to sell to traders at higher prices. Activities to date have been funded by UK AID, through their US$14.9 million grant.