Tanzania: Kikwete Touts Fast Technology Adaption to Transform Agriculture
FORMER President Jakaya Kikwete has stressed the need to replicate the fast rate of technology adaptation initiatives supported by the Partnership for Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa (PIATA) that is led by Alliance for a Green Revolution in Tanzania to enable more smallholder farmers to move from survival to thriving.
Dr Kikwete who is also an AGRA Board Member, made the call at the end of a recent week-long field tour of numerous PIATA initiatives across seven regions in Tanzania’s southern, western, and central zones.
Dr Kikwete said, “Areas with high adoption of technology like Katavi have more produce, more processors, and more robust market activities, leading to a clear sustainable path in the agriculture value chain”.
Together with Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Mr Anthony Mavunde and a cross-section of public, private sector and civil society actors, Dr Kikwete witnessed first-hand agricultural enterprises changing the face of the rural areas and regional townships.
The tour witnessed fast agriculture development, including agro-industrialization. While overcoming emerging challenges from the local, regional and global business environment, home grown enterprises have made significant progress. They include farmers’ organizations, agro-dealers, aggregators, processors and innovative exporters, changing the way agriculture business is done in Tanzania.
A statement availed to the media by AGRA said the success of the PIATA initiative lies in stakeholders, including smallholder farmers organizations working together as consortia, whose collective efforts in selected areas provided more gains for all parties involved, rather than working individually.
It added that the success also highlighted the need to implement flagship projects, bringing together diverse consortiums to take agriculture to the next level.
AGRA, with other stakeholders, supported the government in developing Tanzania Agro-Industries Development Flagship (TAIDF) in 2020, characterized by promoting local agro-processing for the domestic and export markets.
PIATA’s consortium model involved a selected group of organizations and businesses working together to ensure critical components for agricultural transformation, including seed, fertilizer, agro-dealership, extension, markets, and agri-finance, work to benefit all in a locality.
Mr Mavunde appreciated contribution of all stakeholders involved in the agriculture value chain, making a difference to improve livelihoods of smallholder farmers.
He also thanked Dr Kikwete for his commitment and energy during the tour. He pledged the government’s commitment to address emerging challenges, working with the private sector and all stakeholders, to improve the business environment for more viable agriculture development, including growth of agro-industrialization.
The deputy minister called for the scaling up of the PIATA initiative to cover more regions, noting that the development partners’ support has led to more produce and improved livelihoods.
PIATA’s partners include Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, United States Agency for International Development, Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, and German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The Mastercard Foundation and the International Fund for Agricultural Development were also key contributors.
During the implementation of PIATA, productivity (metric ton/hectare) of two key staples – maize and beans – increased by 230% (from an average of 1 metric tonne per hectare to 4 metric tonnes per hectare) and 100% (average of 0.7 metric tonne per hectare to 1.4 metric tonnes per hectare) respectively in Kigoma, Kagera, Katavi, and Rukwa regions, playing a role in cementing Tanzania’s status as the regional food powerhouse.
Ministry of Agriculture data shows that in 2020/21 Tanzania exported over 118,398 metric tonnes of maize, with Kenya as the primary market. In the same period, rice exports amounted to 232,909 metric tonnes, Uganda was the primary export market.