Banana plants showing typical symptoms of BBTV in a farmer’s field during the surveillance and eradication workshop. Photo: IITA/George Mahuku
Initiative Result:

Youth and Women Quality Centre (YWQC) Model for Enhanced Adoption of New Varieties in Tanzania

Low adoption of quality seed of new and improved groundnut and sorghum varieties is attributed to inadequate awareness among farmers, inadequate linkages to, and collaboration with, key value chain actors, perceptions on cost, limited participation of smallholder farmers in seed production, inadequate infrastructure for seed production and storage, and weak regulatory frameworks, among other factors.

To address these gaps in Tanzania and other African countries, and in partnership with the Centre for Behaviour Change and Communication (CBCC), we are operationalizing the Youth and Women Quality Centers (YWQC) concept in the Momba and Mbozi districts of southern Tanzania. The YWQC is a last-mile behaviour change community-led hub with the goal of increasing demand for and adoption of improved varieties through social and behavior change approaches. Currently, there are four operational centres targeting 21 villages and more than 4,313 smallholder farmers, mainly youth and women in rural underserved communities. Enhancing access to improved seeds is poised to create a lasting and beneficial impact on food security and poverty alleviation.

Key functions of the YWQCs in seed sector development include:

  1. Creating and aggregating seed demand
  2. Improving access to seeds, inputs, and modern technologies
  3. Facilitating extension support and demonstrations
  4. Supporting local seed production (e.g., using quality declared seed, a seed-producer implemented system for production of seed that meets at least a minimum standard of quality but does not entail formal inspection by the official seed certification system)
  5. Facilitating business links with various stakeholders
  6. Building the capacity of farmers and local seed multipliers/ enterprises
  7. Facilitating collective marketing of agricultural produce, enabling aggregators, off-takers, and processors to access quality produce
  8. Collection and analysis of marketing information
  9. Allowing farmers to access reliable and accurate market information. The YWQCs are managed by registered groups of youth and women champions under the guidance of dedicated extension officers.

The YWQC – behaviour change model, that puts the farmer at the centre and responds to their needs such as information, motivation, skills, access, linkages, opportunities, alignment with government, coordination, building synergies.

The project recruited and built the capacity of 45 women and youth champions to disseminate innovative farming techniques and technologies. They reached 4,313 farmers (44 percent male, 56 percent female) through social behavior change interventions led by youth champions. To increase the availability of seed of improved varieties at the last mile, 18 youth and women representatives received training on seed production protocols and guidelines and were certified to produce seed at “quality declared seed” levels, producing 8,872 kg (4172 kg groundnuts, 4700 kg sorghum) of quality declared seed in the 2022/2023 season. By availing seed to farmers in the project sites, the YWQCs created and consolidated demand for 10,000 kg of improved groundnut seeds from 1,660 farmers and 3,200 kg of improved sorghum seeds from 1,109 farmers. Partnerships have been forged with five seed companies, supplying 2,200 kg (1,200 kg sorghum, 1,000 kg groundnuts) of certified seeds, and collaborations with the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) supplied 450 kg of certified groundnut seeds. In 2023, the YWQCs facilitated the establishment and supervision of 107 demonstration and tricot plots on sorghum and groundnut in conjunction with extension officers, TARI, and seed companies. The YWQCs also established partnerships with 15 social institutions, including churches, schools, and farmer organizations, to advocate for new, quality, and improved seed varieties in hard-to-reach last-mile areas.

The tangible effects of these interventions were assessed through a cross-sectional study conducted in 2023 involving 1,194 farmers. The study revealed significant improvements in the adoption rates of quality seeds for sorghum, rising from 6.3 percent to 32.7 percent in the 2022/2023 season. Similarly for groundnut, there was a notable increase in adoption from 2 percent to 26.7 percent. Additionally, there was a discernible influence observed among women farmers, as evidenced by a slight rise in land allocation for these crops, with acreage increasing from 0.5 to 1 acre. Further, by enhancing the skills and knowledge of 2,155 women and youth in good agronomic practices, financial literacy, and postharvest management, 168 jobs were created in the seed business. The collective net income from the four YWQCs recorded in the last quarter of 2023 was US$ 4,854 from five revenue lines:

  1. Equipment rental services
  2. Commissions from marketing and sales of quality seed
  3. Quality declared seed production and distribution
  4. Commissions from marketing and sales of postharvest equipment
  5. Commissions from marketing and sales of crop protection products.

The implementation of this project has provided insights into programs seeking to intervene at a community level using a social and behavior change approach that incorporates such models as the Youth and Women Quality Centre. To increase demand, adoption, and investment in seeds of improved varieties, it is vital to design a context-specific model that places farmers at the centre by addressing information needs, motivations, norms, and access, among other key concerns or our stakeholders.

Demand for new seeds of improved varieties among farmers, especially women, has increased. Initially, our farmers believed that only maize requires new seeds. After getting training from youth champions and the extension officers, in the last season farmers showed a great demand for improved seeds.

District Agricultural Officer

The Youth and Women Quality Centre has enhanced proximity to seeds and services. Before, I had to spend Tshs. 3,000 (Kshs. 1,500) each way to travel to town to buy seeds; the Centre is close by and I only have to walk to the Centre to get the seeds.

Woman farmer

Through the Youth and Women Quality Centre, we expanded markets because it linked us with farmers who need improved seeds.

MD, Rieta Agro-Science Tanzania

When I came here, I didn’t know there exist many names for groundnuts, I only knew about white groundnut and red groundnut. When I came to hear of Mnanje Naliendele varieties, I realized there are various varieties of groundnuts, each with a specific name.

Youth in a focus group discussion

Header photo: IITA trains ministry officials on eradicating Banana bunchy top virus in Tanzania. IITA.

Contributing Center

International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT)


The Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute, The Centre for Behaviour Change and Communication; Five seed companies: Palvic Agro Co., Rieta Agroscience Co., Zasse Agricultural Seed and Food Co. Ltd, Mbozi Highland Economic Group Ltd., and Singidan Seed Co., Ltd. The result builds on previous youth engagement work by the CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals and by the “SEED Revolving Fund Initiative, Youth Engagement and Gender Inclusion” funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.