With minimal assistance and direction, small farmers in central Tanzania have created thriving plots of irrigated onions, marketed in Dar, other parts of Tanzania and in the region. Lack of formal credit has not prevented many farmers fertilising their crops heavily. Two villages have been able to overcome poor road access.
Informal marketing work well enough: traders make small margins on the onions they buy and sell. Farmers are reluctant to co-operate in production or marketing; yet the irrigation depends on local water associations and these function.
Government and donor roles have largely been keeping the peace, a stable macro-economy and investing in physical infrastructure — the roads, and upgrading the irrigation intakes. Provision of schools and health posts have brought services to the villages.
Mutabazi, K.; Mdoe, N.; Wiggins, S. Commercialising from the bottom up: Onions in central Tanzania. Future Agricultures Consortium, Brighton, UK (2012) 4 pp. [Research Update 04]