Sunflower processing unit launch in Arusha, Tanzania

The official launch of the MVIWAEKE factory in Arusha, Tanzania supported by We Effect in partnership with Mtandao wa Vikundi vya Wakulima na Wafugaji Mkoa wa Arusha(MVIWAARUSHA). Photo : Imani Hezron

We Effect, together with Mtandao wa Vikundi vya Wakulima na Wafugaji in Arusha (MVIWAARUSHA), launched a food processing unit for sunflower oil and maize at Ekenywa, Arusha District, Tanzania. Tanzania is the largest producer of sunflower seeds in the East African region, taking about 78 percent of the market share in the region.
Ekenywa farmers network display their sunflower products. Photo: Imani Hezron

The initiative is part of the implementation of the Strengthening Equality and Capacity of Farmer Network Project (SEC-NET) project, a three-year (2018-2022) initiative funded by SIDA via We Effect.

Speaking at the launch ceremony, George Onyango, Regional director We Effect, East Africa, said the development of agro-processing plays a significant role in food security for smallholder farmers. He further explained that, “the processing unit will address post-harvest losses, which impedes food security considerably, especially for perishable crops and vegetables, create employment, and increase household incomes.”

George Onyango, We Effect Regional Director of East Africa, delivering an opening remark during the launch of the MVIWAEKE factory at Ekenywa village in Arusha, Tanzania. (The factory is a result of a partnership between the MVIWAARUSHA & We Effect. Photo: Imani Hezron

We Effect has supported: the purchase of practical machinery and equipment, processing materials (i.e., Sunflower pressing unit, maize hulling and milling machinery), training technical and practical knowledge and skills in processing, business and entrepreneurship training to processors, linking farmers to Tanzania Medicines and Medical Devices Authority (TMDA) and Tanzania Bureau of Standards for quality control, facilitated exchange visits to experienced processors for learning purposes and participatory market analysis (farmers, processors and traders).

According to one local farmer Gabriel Mwarabu and chairman of Ekenywa farmers network, “Our major bottleneck has been lack of a ready market after harvesting, we would end up feeding sunflowers to poultry.” Reduction of post-harvest losses has will boost our production.”

Damian Sulumo, programme officer MVIWARUSHA, said the processing unit will address post-harvest losses that have been a thorn in the flesh of our farmers. It will help improve productivity and increasing the profitability of the sunflower venture.

The processing unit will create more employment, help bridge income gaps and foster a spirit of self–reliance among the smallholder farmers in Arusha on food security.

Written by

Catherine Waking'a