SUNFLOWER VALUE CHAIN FORUM IN MANYARA REGION
Recently SIDO through its MUVI program conducted a three days Sunflower forum in Manyara region. The forum aimed at creating face to face interaction between implementers, beneficiaries, traders, and stakeholders to leverage ideas and share experience on improving the implemented sunflower value chain. The forum was officially opened by Hon. Joel Bendera ( Manyara Regional commissioner). In his speech he reiterated on the importance of supporting farmers, processors and all the key actors in sunflower value chain for the betterment of the economy. Also he insisted on quality improvement through oil refinery in order to penetrate national and international market.
During the forum stakeholders from Local Government Authorities (LGAs), Financial Institutions and Regulatory Authorities were invited to present the service they offer to sunflower farmers and producers. A total number of eighty four (84) participants from the regions of Mwanza, Ruvuma, Iringa, Tanga and Manyara ( the host) took part in the event. Beneficiaries’ representatives were given a chance to present benefits attained through MUVI programme. Most of the presentations showed that there is big improvement in agro practice and processing. These involve increase in acreage, production per acre, processing volume and quality of sunflower oil. Additionally, during the forum it was noted that there is a fundamental increase of sunflower oil demand, processing units, jobs created and profit margin attained through the project. Representative from TRA was able to present procedures involved in acquiring Tax payer Identification Number (TIN), different types of tax for small, medium and large enterprises; importance of record keeping for tax assessment and compliance issues. TBS touched lengthily on the existing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with SIDO that gives a room for SMEs to attain TBS Mark at zero cost, procedures involved on acquiring TBS Mark and various types of sunflower oil standards i.e. virgin and refined sunflower oil standards. Representative from TFDA expounded on procedures involved in getting sunflower oil certified. This was preceded by information on procedures involved in certifying a building to be used for processing and products registration. WMA presented on the importance of complying with weights standards, where producers and processors will get more profit and safety. From financial institutions (National Microfinance Bank – NMB and CRDB Bank PLC) participants were able to know type of financial packages related to small and medium enterprises and reasons for SMEs failure in obtaining loans which are lack of collateral, poor record keeping on financial transactions and loan defaulting.
Thereafter representatives from LGA were able to present on initiatives taken in supporting beneficiaries which involve setting funds for agro business, assisting best agro inputs i.e. Quality seeds, fertilizer and pesticides. They also mentioned on challenges faced in implementation of the program like small amount set in budget for supporting sunflower production.