5.0 Conclusions and recommendations
This study assessed the factors affecting the performance of tea smallholder farmers in Muheza and Njombe districts, respectively. The study showed that level of education, number of household members who assist in tea farming activities (including the farmer) and tea farming experience were significant independent variables and positively related to the performance of tea smallholder farmers; while age, membership status, access to extension/ training services and access to credits for tea farming activities were significant independent variables but negatively related to the performance. Moreover, gender and distance from tea farm to the collection center (in Km) were insignificantly with the negative and positive coefficient, respectively.
The study results imply that improvement of tea performance should be the first rational step for greatly increasing green leaf production and revenue to the smallholder farmers in Muheza and Njombe districts, correspondingly. Performance in tea production can be better through optimal use of extension/ training services, access to credits and the impact of membership associations to the smallholder tea sub-sector in both districts.
It is evident that smallholder tea framers have shown prospective of revealing the growth in Tanzanian's economy in terms of employment provision among rural communities and also contributing to the national income. In order to recognize this vital of smallholder tea farming sub-sector in the country's economy, the roles of government should refined to permit numerous approaches which account for user diversity, and to develop partnership with farmer organizations, NGOs and the private sectors for service delivery.
a. The development of smallholder tea sub sector cannot rely only on the private processing companies, with respect to extension support and services. Other institutions from both the private and public sectors should also be engaged in various programmes of promoting skills training, extension services, development of technologies adoption models with technical assistance. Tea private processing companies should continue disseminate the technologies to the smallholder farmers through on farm courses based on practical demonstrations in which will allow the farmers to have contact with the trainers, like farmer field schools, collaboration with the other tea stakeholders including Tanzania Tea Research, Tea Board of Tanzania and Tanzania Smallholder Tea Development Agency.
b. TSHDA should improve the existing strategies on addressing the needs of the smallholder tea farmers especially on the side of supply chain in order to improve the tea performance which will result on increasing production capacities and minimizing green tea-leaf rejection at the market.
c. Weak knowledge of business management and market realities is also one of the reason that makes farmers not see their potentials in commercial farming (Perera, 2014). Because of the less access and management of credits as we critically reviewed in this study. Tea Board of Tanzania with an assistance with NGOs and Entrepreneurship Institutions should design a platform where smallholder farmers will keep learning on different basic practical teachings concerned about records keeping, sales and marketing, risky management, records keeping, credit and financial management.
d. In view of weak membership status in this study, it is therefore recommended that, TSHDA and other stakeholders should encourage and assist smallholder farmers to formulate new and re-structure their old associations legally so that would enable the farmers to market their green tea leaves together to address individual constraints concerning about performance.
e. FAO, (2012) claimed that code of practice relating to agreements and their prosecution between smallholder tea farmers and processing companies are not well collectively owned by smallholder tea farmers. Government under Tea Board of Tanzania should keep on regulating and monitoring these contracts so that farmers will not be in dis advantages side in terms of their rights like assurance of green leaves market, pricing, mode of payments, delivering of others incentives including harvesting tools. These all will motivate the smallholder tea farmers to go extra on performance.
f. Although distance from tea gardens to the collection centers (in Km) shows to be insignificantly but it had positive relationship with better performance. The researcher recommends that, government collaboration with tea processing companies should keep rehabilitate the roads and construct many collection centers near the farmer's tea gardens which will reduce the stress and supplying costs to the farmers to travel far distance to look for collection centers.
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