Yara Tanzania, one of the country’s leading importers, producers and distributors of fertilizer, has launched a special digital innovation dubbed AfricaConnect Initiative targeting rice farmers countrywide.
Speaking while launching the initiative, the Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Hon. Anthony Mavunde lauded Yara Tanzania for its continued effort to develop different digital solutions for farmers and traders.
“Your core business is importation, Manufacture and distribution of fertilizer in the country, but you have gone a step further by improvising different initiatives that promote farmers,” he said, adding that this compliments government efforts in implementing the Agriculture Policy in the country.
The Minister appealed to rice farmers countrywide to embrace the new initiative. “Not all fertilizer companies have similar programs, but Yara has shown the way and proved that you are indeed the leaders in promoting zero hunger and new technology to increase productivity,” he said.
His request comes as most of today’s farmers decide how much fertilizer to apply based on a combination of rough measurements, experience and recommendations. Once a course of action is decided, it is implemented, and the results are usually not seen until harvesting time.
This translates to the fact that most farmers are either unaware of or deliberately turning a blind eye to the emerging, highly recommended and adopted agro-technologies. Consequently, this realization led Yara to spearhead a suitable intervention by creating a platform that brings together partners who include Equity Bank, Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Seed Agency (ASA) and Wilmar Tanzania Limited under the “AfricaConnect” digital initiative that will enable farmers to access financing, quality inputs and market off-takers.
In addition, Hon. Deputy Minister Mr. Mavunde called on all agriculture officers, at all levels, to cooperate with Yara Tanzania in implementing this initiative to ensure the success of this and other developmental initiatives.
On his part, the Yara Tanzania Managing Director, Winstone Odhiambo, said that Yara’s mission is to responsibly feed the world and protect the planet, which can be achieved through continued innovation on proper farming techniques, including digital tools hence the launch of the AfricaConnect Initiative. Farmers can access the platform through registration by Yara Tanzania representatives spread across the rice-growing regions or by calling the toll-free number 0800750188.
He stated that Yara Tanzania has partnered with Equity Bank, Agriculture Seed Agency (ASA), Corteva Agriscience and Wilmar Tanzania Ltd to assist rice farmers. “Through this program, rice farmers will be able to access quick loans, quality farm inputs and ready markets for their produce,” he said.
Equity Bank’s Managing Director, Isabella Maganga said the bank would dedicate 30 per cent of its loans to farmers to acquire quality agriculture inputs and pay back later. She said through the application, rice farmers will be guaranteed agricultural inputs.
Agriculture Seed Agency (ASA)’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Sophia Kashege asserted that the synergies formed between fertilizers firms and seed producers are of the essence at this time when they are aiming at the sector’s better prospects. “There is no agriculture if quality fertilizers are not put together with quality seeds, thus why ASA and Yara are joining forces in this eventful moment.”
Dr. Sophia also elucidated that looking at the highly degraded African soil, substantiated by the geographical location of the continent coupled with few initiatives to underpin soil fertility, the blending of quality fertilizer, seed and other necessary technologies makes huge sense on that backdrop, with various research suggesting the concerted efforts will help increase yield for up 300 per cent. She also added that there had been spotted a tremendous loss of soil nutrients for the East African region, with nitrogen records at 35 kg, phosphorous 5kg and potassium at 25 kg loss per hectare yearly.
The Territory Sales Manager, Crop protection of CORTEVA Agriscience, Cosmas Maganga heaped praises on such an endeavour as the organization will engage in the initiative by conducting training and supplying its quality pesticides, particularly Topshot 60 OD, which will address the long-lived setback of water hyacinth inhibiting most of the paddy farmers.
The input company will continue to collaborate with Yara Tanzania in this initiative to uplift the lives of rice farmers in the country. He hopes that the initiative led by Yara will escalate other agricultural initiatives focused on encouraging sustainable farming.
The Country Director of Wilmar Tanzania, Mr. Sachin Suman said that he genuinely believes that the initiative powered by Yara will help change the fate of rice farmers who, for a long time, bore the brunt of pests, low productivity, low yield, subpar seeds and diseases.
“As Wilmar, we expect to raise our production capacity from 100,000 tons of rice to triple it by next year with 300,000 tons,” says Mr Suman.
According to Mr. Odhiambo, through AfricaConnect initiative, they expect to reach more than 100,000 farmers in all rice growing regions to increase rice production, which is in line with the country’s food security program.
He emphasized that the program will benefit rice farmers by increasing productivity. He asserted that through the initiative, farmers would be able to maintain high-quality standards to get quality produce.
The Digital Solutions Manager, Deodath Mtei, from Yara Tanzania, said they would start with rice farmers and extend to other crop farmers as they grow the service.
Yara Tanzania is focused on revolutionizing farmers’ lives, starting with rice farmers, through the AfricaConnect digital platform that will afford them access to financing, quality and reliable inputs, and ready markets.
For more information, farmers can visit www.instagram.com/yaratanzania, www.facebook.com/YARATanzania and www.youtube.com/channel/yaratanzania. Africaconnect – “kuunganisha wakulima, kuunganisha wabia na kukuunganisha wewe”.