Assessment of Effect of the Consortium Approach to FoodValueChain Development on the Production and Income of Smallholder Farmers in Tanzania
his study assessed the effect of the consortium approach to food value chain development on the productivity and income of smallholder farmers vis-à-vis conventional approaches in Tanzania. The study was conducted in Mbarali district in Mbeya region and included smallholder paddy farmers and partners of Southern Highland Rice Consortium (SHIRCO) in the Competitive African Rice Initiative (CARI) project. Multi-stage purposive cluster sampling techniques were used to select 155 smallholder farmers and 17 key informants. Data were collected using open-ended questionnaires, key informant interviews, focus group discussion guides and documentation reviews and observation. Descriptive, inferential statistics (t-test), costbenefit and SWOT analysis were employed. Results revealed that mean farm size before and after the consortiumwere 1.36 hectares and 1.44 hectares respectively. Respondents’ mean harvests per hectare before and after the consortium were 3.46 metric tonnes and 7.20 metric tonnes respectively. Male farmers mean harvest before and after the consortium were 3.41 metric tonnes/hectare and 6.83 metric tonnes/hectare. Female farmers recorded 3.39 metric tonnes/hectare before and 7.29 metric tonnes/hectare after the consortium. Mean gross margins per acre before and after the consortium were US$228.09 and US$762.19 respectively, indicating a strong significance of P<0.0000** (P<0.05). Climatic change conditions, especially drought, delays in loan processing and disbursement, delay ininput supply and lack of gender-friendly labour-saving technology were constraints faced by farmers. The consortium approach improved output, productivity and the income of smallholder farmers. The approach has the capacity for scalability, replication and also potentials for sustainability.
Keywords: Smallholder farmers, Value chain, Consortium approach, Productivity, Income.