COL partnerships in Tanzania supporting farmers through microfinancing

Reading Time: 4 min read

Rising demand for microfinance services among smallholder farmers in Tanzania led to the establishment of a microentrepreneur service by the local NGO Matumaini Mapya in 2020. With the Commonwealth of Learning’s (COL) support, Tanzania Producers Microfinance Public Limited Company (TAPFICO) was registered and licensed to operate. The company’s purpose is to support farmers through provision of learning services in finance and commercial farming. Most farmers are outside formal banking, and they are the stakeholders in this partnership.

The company has been issuing loans to smallholder farmers since 2022, enabling them to engage in income-earning businesses.

Through the establishment of TAPFICO, COL has facilitated access to collateral-free loans and training on commercial beans and maise farming to empower farmers. This initiative demonstrates the power of partnerships with COL, Matumaini Mapya, TAPFICO and farmers working together to create a mutually beneficial relationship.

Professor Wale Adekunle, L3F Adviser COL, explained that securing capital is a significant challenge perpetuating poverty among rural and urban farmers. The TAPFICO model, therefore, represents a successful innovative approach to solving this agelong challenge, making farmers wealth creators.

As a result of this partnership, the lives of farmers in Tanzania’s Missenyi District have significantly improved. Data from Matumaini Mapya shows that their agricultural knowledge, food security and family incomes have all increased. With access to collateral-free loans and training in commercial farming, many farmers are cultivating beans, maise and bananas for the first time, opening up new avenues for income generation.

Mr Auson T. Mtunzi, a smallholder youth farmer and self-employed secondary school leaver, is a testament to the life-changing impact of the partnership and the potential for further transformation with continued support for farmers in Tanzania.

“The loan from the company (TAPFICO) and training on commercial beans and maise farming profoundly impacted my life and revived my lost hope. I am sure I am not alone in my struggle as a youth to make ends meet. But with COL, Matumaini Mapya and TAPFICO, I am truly grateful for their support.”

Image caption: Mr Auson T. Mtunzi, youth farmer, Missenyi District, Tanzania

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