By April of every year, the entire landscape surrounding Iringa, Tanzania turns a golden yellow. Below the boulder-covered mountain ridges, endless fields of sunflowers peer over the tasseling maize.
Sunflower seed oil and flour are popular in the regions of Tanzania surrounding Iringa, and the seeds sell at a high price in the local markets. This year, One Acre Fund Tanzania offered sunflower seeds and fertilizer as an add-on product farmers could sign up to buy on credit.
By spacing their flowers in rows and applying micro doses of fertilizer, many farmers saw their flowers grow bigger and stronger.
We invited 10 farmers in Tanzania to show off their fields and tell us why they love growing these bright blossoms, and what they plan to do with the extra income they’ll generate.
Sunflower Farmers in Tanzania
“I used to spend so much money buying cooking oil using money that I made from my maize harvest. This would reduce the amount of money I could save to pay school fees for my children. But when I harvest my sunflowers, I will be able to get cooking oil for my family and also generate additional income.”
“I like to plant sunflowers in order to get cooking oil for my family and also make an income. You can earn a good price for them in the market.”
“I like the sunflowers because I know they can be used for oil and will help my family.”
"I want to grow sunflowers because they fetch a good price at the market. This way, it will be much easier for me to make enough money to build a decent house for my family. "
“I hope I will make an extra income from my sunflowers that I will spend on the education of my children. I will also be very happy when I start using oil from my own field!”
“I used to plant a few sunflowers on the edge of my maize fields— I would then grind the sunflowers by using a hand mill to get flour to mix into sauces. If I get huge harvest this year, I will sell part of it to pay for school fees for my daughter Leonola Landa, who is in secondary school.”
“I decided to grow sunflowers this season so I can have cooking oil for my family. But also, if I have enough oil, I can sell some in order to cover other expenses such as school fees and other foods to supplement my maize harvest.”
“I like to grow sunflowers because their price is always very high at the market. When I harvest more, I will make money to invest in the education of my children.”
“I have been spending so much money buying cooking oil from shops since I haven’t grown sunflowers before. But now, I will be able to supply my family with cooking oil from my sunflower field.”
“I grew sunflowers so I can have enough cooking oil for my family. Also, I plan to use the waste materials from the sunflowers to feed pigs, which will make pigs grow fat in a short period of time.”
Photos by Hailey Tucker, One Acre Fund field communications manager.