In Tanzania, access to quality inputs, such as seeds and agrochemicals, is limited for the 80 percent of the population engaged in agriculture. While a lower population density increases farmers' land size, the distribution of inputs is made even more difficult and therefore expensive. In years with drought, disease, or infestation by pests, the entire country suffers because of the lack of access to pesticides, fertilizer, and other agronomic technology. CDI's programs are focused in the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor (SAGCOT) in the Iringa, Iringa Rural, Kilolo, and Mufindi districts. The Iringa region has a total population of more than 900,000 people, with a population density of 27 people per square kilometer. The Government of Tanzania view agricultural productivity as the key mechanism to reduce the country's poverty and seeks to increase private sector partnership with agriculture and improve smallholder access to technology.
Along with the Tanzanian Government and various seed companies, CDI's Ruaha Development Company is working to register, commercially multiply, and disseminate new varieties—specifically those with high oleic content, as these are healthier and command higher market prices. In addition to seed multiplication, the farm will grow soy, sunflower, and hybrid maize crops for commercial buyers. In order to prepare for the first planting season in 2014, CDI greatly invested in improving the farm's soil fertility and land infrastructure to ready it for commercial operation. Projects include new workshops, storage facilities, staff housing, electrification, roads, and a fuel tank. CDI has since planted the first crops on 400 hectares of land. Maize and soy were cultivated utilizing commercial minimum tillage farm equipment.
CDI began working with smallholder communities in Iringa during the 2013-14 season. Since then, CDI field officers have facilitated the formation of farmer clubs with nearly 6,000 farmers. CDI provides smallholder farmers with access to inputs, post-harvest opportunities, and training. CDI field officers are establishing a well-organized and empowered network of farmer clubs and associations and utilize demonstration plots in the community to illustrate the benefits of improved inputs and climate-smart agronomic practices.