Meet Joachim, a farmer and father of 5. He was once an out grower seed producer for Mbozi Highland Seed Company and lives in Ukwile village in Songwe. Before the AVISA project, Joachim had limited knowledge on improved groundnut seeds of new variety and good agronomic practices in groundnut farming. He did not consider groundnut farming as a serious source of income and would only allocate 1.5 to 2 acres for groundnut production on his 9-acre farm. This would lead to a harvest of 170 kilograms per acre. His biggest challenges in groundnut farming were low yield due to uncontrollable diseases (especially rosette virus disease) and poor seed quality.
In 2019, Joachim and his group of 8 members were approached by Mbozi Highland Seed Company to manage a demonstration plot for improved groundnuts varieties, they accepted the challenge. The demonstration plot did not do as well as expected, hence little traction was achieved. Joachim blamed this setback on lack of enough training by the seed company.
In 2020, Mbozi highland seed Company approached Joachim’s group again. This time the company and other partners like TARI played a more active role by introducing Naliendele 2016 (a new improved seed variety) into the demonstration plot. The demo was a success as it attracted many farmers from the village, and it was through this event that most farmers were introduced to improved groundnut seeds. Because of this success, Joachim and his group members were contracted as seed out growers for Mbozi highland seed company to produce improved groundnut seeds Mnange 2009.
In April 2022, CBCC held a sensitization meeting with farmers, representatives from seed companies and groundnuts off takers, and Joachim was part of the members present. He went on to participate in 2 more trainings organized by CBCC and TARI. These trainings introduced him to the Kizazi Cha Mabadiliko program, good agronomic practices, financial literacy and opportunities along the value chain. In April 2022, Joachim joined Kizazi cha Mabadiliko program as a lead farmer and has since used his experience in groundnut farming to educate youth champions, farmers and extension officers in his village on the benefits of improved groundnut seeds.
Through AVISA interventions, Joachim has become a source of inspiration to other groundnut farmers, especially the youth and women in his village. He also earns more money from increased groundnut yield, which is the result of using improved seed and good farming practices. He has since increased the portion of land in which he grows groundnuts and aims to gradually increase it to 6 acres. His yield per acre has also gone up to 170kg to 320kg. He hopes to increase his yield per acre to around 400kg through more training and use of good agronomic practices.
When other farmers doubted the credibility of improved seeds, Joachim purchased 115kg from Pavig Agro Seed Company and redistributed the seeds to 10 farmers at the same buying price the company sold in the village. When asked why he didn’t seek profit by charging extra for the seeds, Joachim said “I cannot seek profit now because majority of farmers have doubt whether the seed company will deliver the seeds once they make payment, right now my intention is to increase the number of farmers who use improved groundnuts seed in my village this season, I believe when they see the superiority of improved seeds over our local varieties, next season their demand is going to increase and there will be a big business for me in distribution.”
His initiatives along with that of the youth champions and extension officers has led to distribution of 883kg of improved seed in his ward and 167kg to the neighboring ward. Joachim has also supported youth champions in creating awareness on improved seeds and training women and youth on good agronomic practices. He has already reached 100 farmers where 40 of them have requested improved groundnuts seeds. Joachim also plans to work with seed companies in seed production for the next season, so that he can ensure seed is available in his village.