Tanzania: Kikwete Stresses Production of Strategic Crops

BOOSTING production of strategic crops, such as soybean for local and international markets, as well as industrial raw materials, is the way forward for Tanzania's agricultural sector, former President Dr Jakaya Kikwete has said.

Dr Kikwete, who is a member of the Board of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), said this in Mbeya on Wednesday, during his ongoing field tour of projects supported by the organisation.

He challenged stakeholders to beef up improved soybean farming in Mbeya, Njombe, Ruvuma, Iringa and other parts of the Southern Highland region to meet and expand the current annual market of 300,000 tonnes to China.

"A hectare of soybeans yields up to one tonne, which means about 300,000 hectares, can produce enough for the Chinese market. We need to work together to introduce more farmers into soybean farming," he said, lamenting cases of agro-processing industries operating below capacity due to inadequate raw material.

Between 2017 and 2021, AGRA worked with diverse partners to link farmers to input and output markets, increasing maize, beans and soybean production in Irena, Njombe and Ruvuma Regions.

Kikwete is accompanied by Tanzania's Deputy Minister for Agriculture Anthony Mavunde, AGRA's Vice-President for Programme Innovation & Delivery, Agnes Asiimwe Konde and Tanzania Country Manager Vianey Rweyendela, as well as private and public sector stakeholders.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT), Geoffrey Kirenga, called on agricultural stakeholders to continue promoting adoption of improved technologies to remain competitive, improve efficiency and quality of produce.

Kikwete's delegation also visited Raphael Group Limited, a rice miller in Mbeya Region, which also deals in beans, sorghum, groundnuts, sunflower and maize. Raphael Group Limited is a key marke produce.

At Meru Agro-seed Multiplication Farm in Mbozi Songwe, Mr Kikwete hailed the homegrown company for enabling smallholder farmers access quality seeds.

The firm previously received support from AGRA to increase its maize seed multiplication capacity to over 3000 tonnes per season.

"There is need to increase efforts in enabling more local production of improved seeds that are affordable for smallholder farmers," he noted.

The ex-president's delegation also visited Mpui Saccos/ Amcos, a farmers' organisation with over 1000 members that has benefited from AGRA's initiative to increase production.

Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Anthony Mavunde, pledged to send experts from the ministry to work with the farmers on accessing sunflower seeds.

AllAfrica publishes around 500 reports a day from more than 100 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.