26 February 2014

Tanzania: Partners Keen to Empower Millions of Farmers

GROWERS associations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen farmers' participation in the design and implementation of the Southern Agriculture Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT).

The growers associations included Agriculture Council of Tanzania (ACT), Agricultural Non-State Actors Forum (ANSAF), the SAGCOT Centre Ltd and Tanzania Horticulture Association (TAHA).

According to SAGCOT Centre Ltd, Chief Executive Officer Mr Geoffrey Kirenga, the agreement symbolises the partnership approach that is required to ensure that investments in the corridor were inclusive, engage and benefit farmers.

The actors will jointly facilitate the engagement of civil society and farmers in SAGCOT initiatives.

Their concerted efforts aim to mobilise and monitor inclusive investments in agriculture and improve policy reforms that promote and encourage growth in the agricultural sector.

The ACT Executive Director, Ms Janet Bitegeko, said: "The coalition underpins what we have all along advocated for; working in partnership.

Through the Tanzania Agriculture Partnership programme (TAP), ACT has long championed the multi-stakeholder partnership approach in agriculture. I can assure you that ACT is ready for action."

The first phase of implementation of the agreement is funded through a grant provided by BEST-AC.

The MoU is one of the outcomes of a Non-State Actor consultation session, facilitated by UNDP, where non-state actors called for a more structured engagement in SAGCOT.

The ANSAF Executive Director, Mr Audax Rukonge, noted that the MoU aims at providing a platform to the smallholder farmers to raise their voices and marks the start of deeper involvement of smallholder farming communities in SAGCOT.

"We look forward to contribute to the promised outcomes from the SAGCOT initiative," he said.

TAHA's Chief Executive Officer Ms Jackie Mkindi said that the most viable way to sustainably address the numerous challenges faced by farmers is through transformational partnerships.

"This MoU will define our roles and responsibilities as partners in catalysing actions and commitments to strengthen farmers' involvement in agriculture value chains as business partners."

SAGCOT which was launched in 2010 is a multi-stakeholder partnership that seeks to transform the agricultural sector of Tanzania by building inclusive agribusinesses in southern regions.

Its innovative model brings together various partners - including food companies, processors, service providers, and farmers' associations - to develop viable agricultural value chains and enhance the profitability of farmers, especially those which are small-scale.

SAGCOT's ambitious goals include bringing 350,000 hectares into profitable production; transitioning 10,000 small-scale farmers into commercial farming; creating 420,000 new employment opportunities; lifting 2 million people out of poverty; and generating $1.2 billion in annual farming revenue by 2030.

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