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Improving access to improved seed of rice, maize and sorghum for smallholder farmers in Mbozi and Momba Districts, Tanzania.

To increase farm productivity by distribution of improved varieties of rice, maize and sorghum adapted to stresses at affordable prices

Photo of Rieta AgroSciences Tanzania Ltd null
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Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

Rieta AgroSciences Tanzania Limited

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small company (under 50 employees)

Website of Legally Registered Entity


How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • Just beginning now

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?


Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?

United Republic of Tanzania

Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Mbozi and Momba districts are located in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania. The two districts occupies a total area of 9679 Square Km.

What country is your selected Place located in?

United Republic of Tanzania

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

Due to poor road accessibility and long distance from Mlowo town centre (where many agro shops are located), many of the agro shops are located in Mlowo town about 120 kilometers from where farmers are. Many farmers in rural areas of Momba, even those who are willing to buy improved seeds are discouraged by the lack access of farm inputs as they buy only small quantities therefore it becomes uneconomical to travel 120 kilometers to buy 2-10 kilograms of improved seeds Establishing a distribution channel that offers sales outlets in the villages centre will enable farmers especially the smallholders who prefer small quantities, to get access to quality improved seeds and extension services timely and at low costs therefore improving their productivity. Rieta Agro has clearly defined the target market and has differentiated itself by locating sales point in the remote areas where farmers are situated, offering transport to our customers who buy large quantities, and offering free consultation services to our customers. Reasonable sales targets have been established with an implementation plan designed to ensure the goals set forth are achieved.

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

Small-scale farmers account for more than 70% of all farmers in Tanzania. Many of these farmers live in the remote areas where many services and products are not available either on time or at affordable costs. These farmers owns small farm sizes from 1-5 acres, they use poor technologies in farming such as hand hoe and they are challenged by drought. I addition, many of these small-scale farmers have no reliable sources of income. These farmers need a reliable supply of farm inputs, at affordable prices and most importantly within their localities. The Tanzania seed sector is characterized by ineffective seed production and promotion, high prices and poor distribution networks, which disable smallholder farmers’ access to improved seed for improving their productivity and livelihood. As a consequence, smallholder farmers opt to use their own local saved seed of poor quality and low productivity potential resulting to low yields leading to food and nutrition insecurity and low income leading to poverty. However, Tanzania has a potential to achieve national seed security and surplus for exporting to neighbouring countries. The current seed situation in Momba district especially, poses a serious threat to the development of agricultural business. In order to influence agricultural productivity, improved seed varieties must be made available, purchased and used by smallholder farmers who dominate the agricultural sector in the country. This can be achieved by employing an aggressive local private seed sector that would produce seed locally, and achieve delivery of seed of the right variety, quantity, quality, pack size and price, at the right place and time down to most remote areas.

Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

Agriculture is the largest sector of employment in Tanzania, with the vast majority of rural women and men employed in agriculture, mostly as self-employed on their own farms. The sector is characterized as female-intensive, meaning that women comprise a majority of the labor force in agriculture. It is widely recognized that improving the performance of the agriculture sector is critical for poverty reduction and food security. At the same time, there are evidences that demonstrated that the underperformance of the agriculture sector is partially due to the existing gender inequalities. Women in rural areas are often disadvantaged in terms of decent work and income generating opportunities, compensation for their labor, unpaid labor and time burden, production decision, intra house priority, intra house income allocation and agricultural responsibilities owing to limited access and control over resources, including education possibilities and training, time-use patterns, land and decision-making powers, extension advice, ethic differences, Social and cultural norms; credit and other financial services. Mbozi and Momba is approximated to have about a number of farmers of 312,000. Many of these farmers live in the remote areas where many services and products are not available either on time or at affordable costs. The farmers in remote areas have weak and unreliable sources of income. These farmers owns small farm sizes from 1-5 acres, they use poor technologies in farming such as hand hoe and they are challenged by drought. I addition, many of these small-scale farmers have no reliable sources of income.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

In 2017, Rieta distributed a total of 1,000 kg of maize seed through its selling points in the remote areas of Mbozi. The seed supplied is equivalent to 100 acres of which with the average yield of 10 bags per acre therefore the seed supplied contributed to about 1,000 bags or 100 MT. Rieta plans to reach more farmers by supplying seeds to even more villages. Improved seed has a scientifically coded genetic capability for increasing productivity; and tolerate biotic and abiotic stresses that add to quantity and quality of the produces through reduced crop losses resulting to higher yields and quality. Higher yields and improved crop quality are closely related to farmer profitability; higher yields lower per-unit production cost while high quality improves the market value of the produce and thus increase profit per unit area. The expected contribution of the project to economic development will include the following: 1) Attainment of a more reliable crop yields resulting from using improved seed and good farming practices will provide farmers with incentives to invest in agricultural business 2) Improved farm productivity will save rural poor farmers’ workload and resources especially women who are often overstretched with their three roles as mothers, wives and farmers. 3) High farm profitability would reduce investment, thus save resources that would open up opportunities for farmers to pursue secondary occupations and spare capacity for works that provide additional income. 4) Increased profitability would reduce need for farmers to expand cultivation area into forests and hill slopes, an as such contribute to sustainable agriculture. 5) High crop yields would reduce food price fluctuation in the country, and reduce need for food imports and food aid and thus, provide greater dignity for the country and its people. 6) Increased profitability of agricultural businesses will contribute in lowering the extent of rural- urban migration problem as well as tree cutting for charcoal trading that contribute to environmental degradation. 7) The project will generate farm job opportunities that will contribute in reducing the unemployment problem among idle labor force in rural areas.

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

Unavailability and inadequacy of good quality seed is still a major problem in Tanzania and is related to ineffective seed production and greed of some enterprises to generate high profits. Although there are several varieties of improved seed on the market, production and deployment of such technologies have been very limited in Tanzania due to the disadvantages of the seed sector. Seed input consumption in Tanzania is about 25,000 to 30,000 MT against potential demand of 160,000MT. Due to the low usage of inputs, the average cereal yield is 1.2 tons/ha against 7-12 tons/ha in other parts of the world. To ensure food security, rural development and sustain natural resource base for future generation and increasing population, productivity increase in the agricultural sector is inevitable. Low yielding varieties lead to poor yields in quality and quantity. The low yielding varieties contribute to low productivity by inherently having low yielding potential. These varieties are generally less responsive to crop management practices such as fertilizer applications. These varieties are also susceptible to both biotic and abiotic stresses. Low yielding varieties leave farmers with a few to sell for exchange for other commodities hence main cause of poverty, nutritional challenges and economic progress. Low usage of improved varieties and associated technologies in Tanzania is due to short and unreliable supply chain, high prices, low level of awareness on potentials of improved varieties, lack of locally adapted varieties and poor extension services in rural areas. Poor adoption of improved varieties is accounted for by lack of awareness among farmers on potentials of improved varieties, insufficient extension services, and poor distribution channels to rural areas, farmer’s willingness and lack of varieties adapted to biotic and abiotic stresses. The adoption rate can be increased by production and distribution of improved varieties adapted to biotic and abiotic stresses at affordable prices and in right pack sizes, creation of awareness on the importance of using improved seeds and establishment of distribution network in rural areas. Smallholder farmers in Momba are faced by various challenges including long distance to Mlowo town centre where many agro shops are located, drought and poor road infrastructure to Mlowo. Rieta AgroSciences Tanzania Ltd intends to increase adoption rate by distribution of improved varieties of rice, maize and sorghum adapted to biotic and abiotic stresses at affordable prices and packs, creation of awareness thorough various approaches on the importance of using improved and timely delivery and as well establishment of distribution network of agro dealers in the rural areas coupled with extension and intensive promotion of the new varieties. In order to increase the national agricultural productivity, quality seed of superior varieties must be made available, purchased and used by majority of smallholder farmers who dominate the agricultural sector. The rate of adoption can be increased through the following: • Awareness creation on the importance and economic value of the new crop varieties in increasing productivity. There is need to organize capacity building for farmers, farmer groups, extension staff and community based organizations where farmers can access information on improved technologies. • Rieta will put extra effort to reach the farmers even in remote areas by promoting improved seed extensively in collaboration with the other developmental institutions and Government extension agents. • Rieta will improve the distribution system by establishing retail outlets in remote areas of Momba where farmers can easily access improved and quality seed

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1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Itika Gupta

Hi Rieta AgroSciences Tanzania Ltd null  Welcome to the Prize Community!
It is amazing to see your Vision being developed on such an in-depth understanding of the challenges in the agriculture-system of your region.
What could the food system of Tanzania look like in 2050?
How might you evolve your Vision to become more regenerative by upsetting the current trends and creating a new trajectory? To help you speculate what your future Vision could look like, you can find some guiding principles on Future Casting and inspiration in the Vision Prize Toolkit in Chapter 3 under Tools of Transformation. Here's the link to the Prize Toolkit:

Look forward to seeing your Vision evolve in the coming weeks.