TANZANIA – The government of Norway has signed a US$3 million (Tsh8 billion) with the UN World Food Programme (WFP) aimed at improving smallholder farming in Tanzania, reports Daily News.

The funding will support the Farm to Market Alliance (FtMA), an initiative aimed at affording smallholder farmers to access farm inputs and markets for their produce.

According to Norwegian Minister for International Development Nikolai Astrup, the investment is in line with Norwegian efforts in achieving the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs), especially food security.

“Agricultural development will benefit smallholder farmers and I hope that development funds like this is a catalyst for the lives of smallholder farmers,” he said.

The support will help smallholder farmers to work closer to buyers of their produce and access farm inputs.

UN WFP country director Michael Dunford said: “Farm to Market Alliance started in Tanzania three years ago and I am confident that with this initiative, we will achieve the target of reaching out to more than 1.5 million smallholder farmers.

The financial support was significant in the lives of smallholder farmers through FtMA, which focuses on creating a thriving and sustainable agricultural sector that empowers farmers, forges strong markets and improves global food security.

“Yara International ASA, as leading providers of sustainable crop nutrition solutions and supporting farmers profitably, are happy to be part of the FtMA initiative to uplift the lives of smallholder farmers,” said Yara Country Manager William Ngeno.

FtMA was established in 2015 by eight public and private organisations, including Yara International ASA, Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Buyer, Grow Africa, International Finance Corporation (IFC) among others.

FtMA’s demand-led holistic value chain solution, PATH supports African farming families to transition to commercial agriculture by addressing the major challenges that smallholder farmers face.

It empowers smallholders to become reliable market players through access to four integrated pathways: predictable markets, affordable finance, technologies and quality inputs, and handling and storage solutions.

Through PATH, FtMA structures market engagement, training, expertise, products and services.