Rikolto’s partnership with private sector on expanding pulses trade in and from Tanzania

Rikolto’s partnership with private sector on expanding pulses trade in and from Tanzania

in News
''Thanks to its great nutritional benefits and low ecological footprint pulses are a very important crop for the future. Pulses are rich in proteins and therefore a perfect meat alternative. ''
David Leyssens Regional Director

Cowpeas, pigeon peas, green grams, chickpeas, mung beans, bambara nuts, common beans… Tanzanians love their different types of pulses! Common beans are the third most important staple crop in Tanzania, after maize and cassava.

Eating pulses adds to a more diversified diet and is seen as an important contributor in the fight against stunting in countries where there is still a high level of malnutrition amongst children, like Tanzania.

Although production, consumption and exportation of pulses has been increasing in the last decade, the country is facing serious challenges. Productivity and production are very low and actors in the value chain are not well organized. Trading relationships between farmers and buyers are based on mutual agreements with no formal or longterm contracts. The various buyers will always tell farmers that they will buy at the market price, prevailing at that particular moment. Uncertainty of the weather and therefore harvests, price volatility, the unpredictable export market, and an unstable business policy put farmers at high risk.

Rikolto has therefore started a programme in the beginning of 2018 to support private sector in Tanzania to expand pulses trade in and from Tanzania. East African Grain Council and Tanzania Pulses Network are the main partners in this programme.

The programme aims to support the expansion of inclusive business models with buyers such as Export Trading Group and Bajwa. It wants to identify new business development opportunities with exporters like the Belgian company Casibeans and retailers like Colruyt Group in order to help the export market to develop. It also looks at implementing commercial models for the provision of Quality Declared Seeds to small holder farmers.

Fighting the weevils

Recently, this programme has launched a study to help tackle the problem of weevil infestations. Weevils are a type of beetles that attack the grains of pulses, remain inside and are impossible to remove afterword’s. Tanzanian farmers are losing nearly half of their pulse to this weevils pest. This is detrimental to the economy and the livelihoods of the farmers. In the best situation the infected pulses have a lower nutritional value with lower quality leading to low prices and loss of market opportunities for domestic and export markets. Unfortunately, in the worst situation the weevil pest leads to complete losses of the harvest.

Rikolto started a partnership with the Tanzanian Pulses Network and with the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute to synthesize the state of the art on weevil research in pulses. This synthesis is aimed at giving an overview of weevil species, reproduction, prevention and combat techniques, with an evaluation of the different techniques based on a variety of criteria (effectiveness, price, ease of application etc.). The aim is to disseminate existing research to a wide group of stakeholders (farmers, local traders, exporters, extension workers etc.) to give an overview of options to reduce weevil occurrence.

Plans for the future

Rikolto will further on invest in aggregation of produce and storage facilities to assure the possibility of a group of farmers not to sell their produce immediately after harvest. This will increase their bargaining power, resulted in higher prices in the months after the harvest.

We will also try to influence policy issues at higher level, together with our partners East Africa Grain Council (EAGC) and Tanzania Pulses Network (TPN). Together, we will for example aim for the uplifting of the export ban of pulses to India.

picture at the top of this page: IITA