Tanzania: Why Value Addition Key to Agro-Production, Food Security
By Alfred Zacharia
Arusha — Experts have stressed value addition as key to agricultural production and food security.
“You need not confine your efforts to the quantity of yields, but also to the value of yields,” said Prof Marc Dufumier, an agricultural expert from France.
Likewise, he said, agriculture will not deliver as anticipated as long as the cost of production remains high, especially for smallholder farmers.
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He made the remarks here on Tuesday during a scientific conference on agro-ecology: a farming system blended with conservation techniques.
The one-day meeting was organized by the Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) in collaboration with the French and Belgian embassies.
A Belgian NGO involved in implementation of agricultural projects for smallholder farmers in Arusha region, Iles de Paix, was also among the organizers.
The French don challenged agricultural extension staff to assist farmers to reduce production costs and increase productivity.
Ludovic Joly – Iles de Paix country director – said farmers should be sensitized on the benefits of agro-ecology which, he noted, was more responsive to climate change challenges.
On food security, he suggested adoption of water harvesting techniques, saying it can guarantee Tanzanians enough food supplies than rain-fed agriculture.
Responding to the pleas, the Arusha Regional Administrative Secretary, Richard Kwitega, said it was now a high time for smallholder farmers to focus on markets for their produce.
He added that agriculture remains a key pillar of Tanzania’s economy, accounting for 95 percent of the local food supplies.
He added that the government is keen to promote agro-ecology because it can guarantee increased food yields.
Agriculture and allied sectors like livestock-keeping form the livelihood of 70 percent of the 56 million-plus Tanzanians – and accounts for a half of export earnings.