Dodoma — The government is happy with the performance of the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (Sagcot) and has pledged to use its experience to develop modern irrigation farming around Lake Victoria zone.
The minister for Agriculture, Dr Charles Tizeba, told the National Assembly here recently that Sagcot's experience and knowledge would be used in other parts of the country. He added that for a start the institution's skills and practice would be used in modernising farming in the lake zone by building huge dams for irrigation farming.
"The ministry will cooperate with stakeholders in agriculture to spread Sagcot's rich experience to modernise agriculture in other parts of the country," the minister told legislators.
He said Sagcot had already spent $500 million out of the $3.5 billion projected to be spent by 2030, explaining that out of the amount, $2.4 billion will be contributed by the private sector. So far, the minister told the House, Sagcot had linked big investors to villagers in order to increase productivity, disposable income, food security and nutrition at family level. The beneficiaries are growers of soya, tea, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, paddy, vegetables and fruits.
Dr Tizeba said in the government's bid to increase smallholders' access to financing, it has used Sagcot's experience in working with financial sector stakeholders to identify innovative financing mechanisms and a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed to that effect. He named stakeholders in this arrangement as Financial Sector Deepening Trust (FSDT), Sagcot Centre Ltd, Agriculture Market Development Trust (AMDT), Sagcot Catalytic Trust Fund (CTF).
The minister said using Sagcot and in cooperation with the Eastern Africa Grain Council (ECGC) a fruitful meeting was held between growers of Soya and strategic traders in order to guarantee growers a reliable market. As a result, NASSAD Animal Feed will buy 4,000 tonnes of soya at 1,000 shillings a kilo. Before the meeting Silverlands Company had bought 2,500 tonnes from farmers at 2.5 billion shillings.
Using Sagcot's initiatives, the minister said, growers of Irish potatoes received 2,325 tonnes of good potato seed and 9,305 farmers were trained on beneficial potato farming.