Tanzania: AGRA seeks more technology adoption to increase agriculture output

“Tanzania is a priority country for AGRA. Since 2006, AGRA has funded 96 grants to support agriculture valued at over USD 51m”

Mbeya, August 7, 2016
The Alliance for A Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has called for greater adoption of technology in agriculture for smallholder farmers for assurance of continued national food security and surplus production for the market.

AGRA Country Head for Tanzania, Dr Mary Mgonja made the assertion while addressing a joint press conference on Sunday at John Mwakangale Grounds, in Mbeya where Farmer’s Day (Nane Nane) is being celebrated at national level. About ten organizations, which partner with AGRA in Tanzania were also present at the press conference.

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

“Tanzania is a priority country for AGRA. Since 2006, AGRA has funded 96 grants to support agriculture valued at over USD 51m,” she said.

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.

Some of the results of the investment have been introduction of improved seed varieties, better fertilizers, post-harvest handling and storage technology for grains and innovative agricultural finance, among other outputs.

“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 libation for small farmers,” she noted.

Since the introduction of PIC bags, about three companies are involved in manufacturing, and hundreds of agro dealers are marketing those hermetic storage technologies reaching hundreds and thousands of farmers.

Prime Minister Hon. Kassim Majaliwa shakes hand with AGRA Coutry Head Dr Mary Mgonja (Tanzania) at Nane Nane Show in Mbeya

Prime Minister Hon. Kassim Majaliwa shakes hand with AGRA Coutry Head Dr Mary Mgonja (Tanzania) at Nane Nane Show in Mbeya

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

“AGRA will continue collaborating with the Ministry of Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries to ensure AGRA activities align with the government’s agriculture initiatives,” she said. She added that AGRA support at the moment was aligned to government’s Big Result now and Kilimo Kwanza, in as far as agriculture development was concerned.

Some of the organizations partnering with AGRA at show included Tanzania Seeds Trade Association (TASTA), CSDI, Equity Bank, Unyiha Associates, BRITEN, RUDI, AGROZ. Other AGRA partners at the show and from public institutions included ARI Uyole, Chollima AGRO, ARI Mlingano and the SAGCOT Centre.

“AGRA has been paramount in enabling a better business environment for seeds trade through Micro Reforms for African Agribusiness (MIRA) project. We are happy from June 2016, in Tanzania we have a confirmed a new seed policy, which was developed in an inclusive way. The policy allows private seed companies to license and produce varieties that were developed and released by public institutions ” Tanzania Seeds Trade Association (TASTA) Executive Director, Mr Baldwin Shuma, said.

Dr Matilda Kalumuna, of Agricultural Research Institute Mlingano –Tanga, said AGRA had supported the institution with almost USD 400,000 to strengthen the institution and is capacity to implementFertilizer Quality Control operations.

“Through the project, 100 fertilizer inspectors, 15 analysts were trained, 338 Agro-dealers sensitized and at about 8000 stakeholders sensitized. As a result of this project, companies and Agro-dealers turned up for registration by TFRA, fertilizers on the market are being registered, inspected and analyzed. Adulterated and substandard fertilizers are being identified and taken out of the market.”

“Equity Bank Tanzania has partnered with AGRA to establish a revolving fund for financing hermetic grain storage manufacturers. In our pilot project for Njombe, Morogoro and Iringa, we are offering agro-dealersTSH 5 to 30 million loans to buy PICS bags, metal silos and cocoons, from this month,“ Enesto Josephat, Equity Bank Tanzania, Agribusiness sector head”.

Mr Owekisha Kwigizile, SAGCOT Centre Potato specialist
“At the moment in Tanzania, we only have only three legally recognised potato varieties, despite the crop being a major food crop across the country. SAGCOT center and other partners like AGRA, among others we are working together to increase the number of improved varieties, which are higher yielding.”


About AGRA in Tanzania

AGRA is an African-led alliance focused on putting farmers at the center of our continent’s growing economy.

AGRA advances uniquely African solutions to sustainably raise farmers’ productivity and connect them to a growing marketplace.

Successes in Tanzania to date
• 1.4 million farmers using new seed varieties.
• 14 PhDs funded in plan breeding and agronomy
• 27 MSc students funded in crop science and soil science
• 29 new crop varieties commercialized
• 15 locally owned seed companies supported
• 108,000 farmers trained in post-harvest handling
• 230,000 farmers adopting an integrated approach to soil health and fertility

AGRA has three goals to achieve by 2020:
1. Reduce food insecurity by 50% in at least 20 sub-Saharan African countries;
2. Double the incomes of at least 20 million smallholder farmers across the continent; and
3. Move at least 30 countries onto a sustainable path towards transforming their agricultural sectors

AGRA invests in key programs along the food value chains to develop practical solutions to significantly boost farm productivity and incomes for the poor while safeguarding the environment.

Working to improve farmer access to quality seed of improved varieties
• AGRA has partnered with the Government of Tanzania and 15 local seed companies to provide farmers with higher-yielding seed by supporting the development, multiplication, and distribution of seed.
• AGRA supports country-level crop breeding teams who work closely with farmers to
development new varieties suitable for local conditions. Improved seed lifts crop production providing farmers with increased food security and incomes.
• AGRA has funded the development of 42 new crop varieties in Tanzania. These varieties,
developed by local researchers, meet the particular challenges farmers face. More than half of these new varieties are commercially available and have been adopted by almost 1.4 million farmers.
• AGRA has also worked with the Government to improve seed policies so that locally-owned private seed companies can access publicly released varieties for production and marketing.
Improving soil health and fertility
• With the help from partners, AGRA has been working to increase farmer incomes and productivity by improving the health and fertility of soils in Tanzania.
• These efforts have seen almost 230,000 farmers adopting good agronomic practices to
strengthen soil health on nearly 150,000 ha. These methods include the use of manure and
legumes to increase soil health and fertility.
• AGRA also works to improve the quality, supply, and authenticity of fertilizer products. This work ensures farmers can have confidence the fertilizer they buy is true to label and will deliver results.

Storing and selling the crop
• Limited access to markets and storage and transport costs can have a significant impact on farmer profitability.
• To overcome these challenges, AGRA, and its partners are training farmers in post-harvest
management and developing rural marketplaces, commodity exchanges, warehousing systems and milling operations, to open up alternative market options for farmers to sell their products.
• To date, over 108,000 farmers have been trained in post-harvest management, helping to
maintain the quality and marketability of crops once they have been harvested.
• AGRA was also one of the partners involved in helping lift an export ban on the selling of
maize, helping farmers sell their grain at more competitive prices.

Capacity Building
• To help overcome the challenges of tomorrow, AGRA supports the training of young scientists.
To date, AGRA has supported 14 plant breeders and agronomists to receive their Ph.D., while
27 students have been supported at the Masters level. AGRA funded graduates have gained
employment with organizations including The Ministry of Agriculture, the Southern Highlands
Zone Agricultural Research Institute, and the Sugarcane Research Institute.
• As well as supporting the training of students, over 28,000 farmers have been trained in
business development, group dynamics and leadership.
• Agro-dealers play a vital role in getting quality inputs and advice to farmers. With AGRA’s
support, 6700 agro-dealers have received training helping to improve the quality of agricultural advice offered to farmers.

Improving access to finance
• AGRA is partnering with two banks – Stanbic-Tanzania and NMB Bank – to provide short- and medium-term loans of over US$16.2 million.
• At the end of 2015, 52,465 farmers, 20 SMEs, and 1055 agro-dealers have accessed these
credit facilities.
• AGRA and its partners have also provided US$ 4.65m in risk-sharing funds.
Government policies and partnerships

Working with the Government of Tanzania
AGRA collaborates closely with the Government of Tanzania, ensuring its activities in Tanzania align with the government’s agricultural initiatives including Kilimo Kwanza and Big Results Now.
Over the past few years, AGRA has been working closely with the Government and other development partners to produce a detailed investment plan, to inform and guide agricultural transformation until 2020/2021.

In Tanzania AGRA’s partners include the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Cooperatives; development partners including USAID and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO); international research organization as well as local and international NGOs.
AGRA is also one of the partners involved in The Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT). SAGCOT is an agricultural partnership, which brings together government, businesses,donors and farmers working to improve agricultural productivity, food security, and livelihoods in the southern agricultural region of Tanzania.

Special Initiatives
Financial Inclusion for Smallholder Farmers in Africa Program
The Financial Inclusion for Smallholder Farmers in Africa Project (FISFAP) is a five-year US $ 15 million project which aims to improve food security and incomes of over 700,000 farmers in Ghana, Kenya, and Tanzania.
It seeks to enable partnerships between financial services providers, value chain actors such as agrodealers and aggregators, and mobile network operators to develop appropriate and affordable digital products and services for (organized) smallholder farmers. Products and services might be financial
such as savings, insurance, and credit, or non-financial such as agronomic extension, financial literacy
or access to markets.
The emerging digital highways in the target countries allow these services to reach farmers at a much
lower cost and with reduced risks as more data on smallholder farmers become available for analysis,
certification and rating purposes. FISFAP supports the development, piloting and roll-out of these digital
products and services as long as they present a business case for all partners involved and an end-toend
solution for smallholder farmers.
The Scaling Seeds and Technologies Partnership in Africa
The Scaling Seeds and Technologies Partnership in Africa (SSTP) is a US$47m partnership between
USAID and AGRA that is improving smallholder farmer access to transformative technologies, including
improved seed, inputs, and agricultural implements.
SSTP was formed to help six countries – Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Senegal, and Tanzania
- to meet policy and commercialization commitments made under the New Alliance for Food Security
and Nutrition.
In Tanzania, SSTP is working with 11 local seed companies and NGOs to support the
commercialization of 29 improved crop varieties of beans, cassava, Irish potato, maize, pigeon pea,
sorghum, and soybean.
SSTP’s activities in Tanzania focus in the Northern, Eastern and Southern Highlands regions, as well as
Yield Wise
Together with the Rockefeller Foundation, AGRA is implementing the Yield Wise Maize project, to scale
an integrated approach for reducing post-harvest losses in Tanzania.
The three-year US$4.6 million project seeks to increase smallholder farmer incomes by 25% by cutting
maize post-harvest losses in half. Reducing post-harvest losses provides an opportunity to deliver
higher incomes for farmers, better health for the community, and a sustainable food and environmental
future for Tanzania.
Tanzania loses about up to 1/3 of maize production – or 1 million tons – annually due to post-harvest
losses; this is equivalent to 4% of the agricultural GDP.
The project is being implemented with the help of two local partners, Building Rural Incomes Through
Enterprise (BRiTEN) and Rural Urban Development Initiative (RUDI).
The Initiative is testing the following approaches to reduce post-harvest losses in the maize value chain:
• Market linkages: Linking farmers to large buyers and key markets
• Produce aggregation: Training farmers in how to work together to sell produce collectively
• Access to Finance: Helping farmers and other value-chain actors access finance.
• The testing and distribution of storage technologies: Demonstrating to farmers the benefits of hermetic bags (PICS), metal silos and hermetic cocoons to store grain safely at the household and community levels.