Tanzania: Body Wants Agriculture to Go Hi-Tech

The Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (Agra) has called for greater adoption of technology in agriculture as the best solution for improving output among smallholder farmers.

The know-how which ranges from improved seeds to storage facilities will increase production and halt wastage after harvest, a move that would assure continued national food security and surplus production for the market, according to Agra Country Head for Tanzania Dr Mary Mgonja who spoke ahead of Farmers Day (Nane Nane) being marked today.

Agra which works in 18 countries was formed in 2006 in response to former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's call to focus on problems related to seed production, soil health and agriculture markets specifically for Africa and targets to double yields and incomes for 30 million farming households by 2020.

Since then, the organization has funded 96 grants to support agriculture valued at $51 million, Dr Mgonja said.

"I am very optimistic about the future of agriculture in Tanzania as the best means available to lift millions of smallholder farmers from poverty," said Dr Mgonja.

"I urge more and more farmers to adopt new technology in agriculture - ranging from improved seeds to storage technologies, which if adequately used, could increase production and halt wastage after harvest. It's the key to economic liberation for small farmers," she noted. Some of the results of the Agra investment, according to her, have been introduction of improved seed varieties, better fertilizers, post-harvest handling and storage technology for grains and innovative agricultural finance, among other outputs.

According to Dr Mgonja the grants have played a great role in addressing the challenges small scale farmers face across the agriculture value chain, from seeds and soils to markets, access to finance and policy.

Dr Mgonja hailed the government of Tanzania for making progress in improving agriculture policy environment policy to address challenges faced by stakeholders in the sector.

Source: The Citizen