Catalyzing agricultural innovation in Tanzania

Sophia, a rural corn farmer in Tanzania.
Sophia, a rural corn farmer in Tanzania.

As the Livelihood Enhancement through Agricultural Development (LEAD) project rounds out its third year, we are excited to share a more in-depth and comprehensive update. As a supporter of this program, we want you to know exactly what you’ve helped achieve.

The ultimate goal of the LEAD project is to improve the lives of more than 100,000 poor Tanzanians – the majority of whom are women – by targeting rural, smallholder farmers and livestock keepers. Here is our progress on that goal.

During the most recent reporting period, BRAC Tanzania found particular success with its strategy of utilizing group-based learning and organizing.

One key tactic has been to form organizations of farmers called producer groups to share technical information and improve the flow of goods to the market. Comprised of 10-15 farmers and led by an experienced farmer, groups determined the roles and responsibilities for their members independently. Besides improving market access, the groups also encouraged better adoption of new farming techniques by meeting each month to discuss challenges and opportunities.

This past quarter alone, a total of 528 poultry producer groups were organized, bringing the cumulative total to 96% against the overall project goal. For corn farmers, BRAC is at 98% of the project goal. In total, a whopping 1,190 producer groups were formed.

In addition, BRAC also relied on workshops to connect farmers with markets. At these workshops, farmers shared information about their product and learned about new farming supplies and services they could engage. Overall, 12 workshops were held.

Finally, LEAD organized Farmer Field Days to help train farmers and encourage the adoption of best practices and new technologies. The 21 separate Field Days included demonstrations by farmers to share information about their own successes with each other. Equally important, the Field Days also created a platform for farmers to buy and sell products at reasonable prices.

During this period, trainings on improved farming and poultry-keeping practices, including the Field Days, were completed for 98,427 farmers. This is 94% against the project goal – with more than a year still to go.

These are some of the successes BRAC has found with the LEAD project in Tanzania. Ultimately, the most important achievement is that, with your continued support, LEAD will meet its goal of increasing the household income of 78,000 corn and poultry farmers this year alone.

That includes farmers like Sophia (pictured). Sophia farms corn in Kikuyu, part of the Dodoma district in Tanzania, and she is one of the thousands of local, rural smallholder farmers who benefits from your donation. As Sophia’s income rises, so too does her access to better health care, education for her family, and so much more.

Thank you for supporting Sophia and thousands of Tanzanian farmers like her. When we all work together, we can achieve so much more.

Sophia, in her corn field in Kikuyu.
Sophia, in her corn field in Kikuyu.
Mgeni a livestock promotor in Tanzania
Mgeni a livestock promotor in Tanzania

The agriculture and livestock sectors in sub-Saharan Africa have remarkable potential to foster economic growth – especially in rural areas. But in order to take advantage of regional resources, countries like Tanzania need to equip local farmers with the skills and tools they need to be successful.

With your support, the Livelihoods Enhancement through Agriculture Development (LEAD) program, conducted in Tanzania, has increased farmers’ incomes by teaching them skills such as effective bargaining and confidence in their product through marketing. LEAD also trains the farmers in business tactics: they learn competitive negotiating skills and cost reduction strategies.  By organizing groups through which farmers can cultivate markets and contacts, as well as offering easier access to supplies and modern agriculture technology, many more families have become food secure. In just two years of operation LEAD has formed 5,027 farmers’ organizations for both maize and poultry.

The majority of the farmers participating in LEAD are women. Mgeni is an excellent example of one woman who benefited from a BRAC agriculture program. To start her poultry business, Mgeni took out 250,000 Tanzanian shillings (120 USD) from a BRAC microfinance program. Now, she makes between two and three million shillings monthly (960-1,440 USD) by supplying local shops with eggs; Mgeni is considering buying a car to expand her market even further. Her first small loan has allowed Mgeni to expand her business and apply for a BRAC Small Enterprise Loan (up to 30 million shillings or 14,400USD). Mgeni success story is one of many that will continue to inspire farmers like her to get involved with LEAD and start their own competitive business.

Thank you for donating to this project. As it receives more funding and support, BRAC looks to expand its agriculture programs in Tanzania and continue to train farmers to plant their crops efficiently and maximize outputs.

Grace is a farmer in BRAC
Grace is a farmer in BRAC's Agriculture project

BRAC takes an integrated approach to help people rise out of poverty and realize their potential. This is why BRAC has been developing an extensive agricultural network that invests in research and technology that could increase farming yields, and as a result empower farmers in Tanzania.  

BRAC has already established an effective method of production, distribution and marketing of quality seeds at reasonable prices and has created a system where poor farmers receive microcredit support. There are also numerous agricultural training programs provided to the farmers, such as the Vegetable and Kitchen Farmers program, where the farmers are provided with technical knowledge about producing simple crops in small pieces of land.

However, BRAC wants to go beyond its current success in Tanzania and develop a system where production is increased by expanding irrigation, there is greater access to quality fertilizers and pesticides, and larger investment in its agriculture research stations to develop disease-resistant seed varieties. The current activities along with BRAC’s plan to expand the project will target the problem of poor crop productivity in a more effective manner.  

Thank you for donating to support this work. As we look to catalyze agricultural innovation in Tanzania we appreciate your help in empowering our farmers! 

Rachel Chezari  Alison Wright 2014
Rachel Chezari Alison Wright 2014

Rachel Chezari is a maize farmer working in Dodoma, a city in the Ipagal district of Tanzania. Rachel is part of BRAC’s Livelihood Enhancement through Agricultural Development, or LEAD program. With the help of BRAC, Rachel makes about $450 a year, enough to support her three boys. She works in the maize fields and has been taught by BRAC how to use fertilizer to improve her crops and sell them at the market. Rachel is one of many entreprenuers trained and supported by BRAC with agriculture and livelihood training. Help more women like Rachel support their families and donate today!

Rachel and three boys  Alison Wright 2013
Rachel and three boys Alison Wright 2013
Fertilizer for crops  Alison Wright 2014
Fertilizer for crops Alison Wright 2014
Shucking corn  Alison Wright 2014
Shucking corn Alison Wright 2014
(BRAC/Alison Wright, 2014)
(BRAC/Alison Wright, 2014)

BRAC's agriculture program works with governments to ensure food security while empowering local women farmers with the knowledge and skill they need to become successful entrepreneurs. We build systems of production, distribution and marketing of quality seeds at fair prices, conduct research to develop better varieties and practices for the agricultural sector, offer credit support to poor farmers, and promote the use of efficient farming techniques and proven technologies. Using environmentally sustainable practices, we are helping the countries where we work become self-sufficient in food production.

This is exactly what we hope to do in Tanzania. With this particular project, we are training agriculture extension workers and equipping them with the tools and inputs they need to make the communities food secure. BRAC-trained agricultural workers will in turn be training thousands of small-holder, women farmers to create sustainable livelihoods and improve nutrition at the grassroots level. 

Increased incomes and farm productivity will allow women farmers to send their children to school, to afford healthcare and to deal with financial shocks to the household. Please make a donation to this amazing project to give women farmers the opportunity to be self-sustaining.


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Organization Information


Location: New York, NY - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Scott MacMillan
New York, NY United States

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