Sourcing Bean Seed Locally: A Win for Tanzania

High-quality, reliable bean seeds will soon be sourced locally, thanks to a collaboration between Mbeya farmers, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute (TOSCI), and agricultural extension from Mbeya District.

During the 2023 cropping season, CRS identified a pressing concern among farmers regarding the limited availability of good quality, reliable bean seeds. Due to the lack of prioritization from seed companies in terms of seed availability and distribution, many farmers have resorted to using recycled home-saved seed, leading to low seed viability, quality, and poor overall yields. CRS organized an intensive training program for 16 emerging private Quality Declared Seed (QDS) producers early in 2024.

This initiative is equipping participants with crucial knowledge of seed quality, sourcing, classification, and the production of certified-grade bean seeds. By empowering these QDS growers, Mbeya is getting closer to being able to ensure a consistent supply of high-quality seeds, curb the issue of counterfeit seeds, and give timely access to quality inputs for farmers.

The quality control process for the Quality Declared Seed Growers is rigorously structured, including acquiring starter seeds from an authorized source; registering fields with TOSCI; isolating the fields; practicing prescribed pest management; monitoring weather conditions; undergoing two rounds of meticulous testing; passing weed inspections in the fields; and testing samples. The protocol ensures that only high-quality seeds are produced and distributed, promoting better agricultural production and food security in the region.

As a direct result of this training, 12 QDS farms, each covering from one half acre to one acre, have been established so far, promising a notable increase in bean production. Besides benefiting from access to quality seeds, farmers will have the opportunity to generate additional income by selling these seeds within their communities, thereby contributing to local and national food security.

Tanzania Mbeya Program
Led by Catholic Relief Services

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