In a bold stride to enhance food security in Tanzania and transform the country into the food hub of Africa, the government, in collaboration with Yara, a leading fertilizer company, has laid out a comprehensive plan to revolutionize the agricultural sector.
A mere 40% of Tanzanian farmers use improved seeds, leading to lower productivity in the country’s food crop production. This revelation was made in Mbeya by the Director of Crop Development from the Ministry of Agriculture, Nyasebwa Chimagu, during the inaugural ceremony of the two-day Yara Agriculture Expo.
The director pinpointed a lack of quality seeds and an insufficient understanding of proper fertilizer usage, given the growing crops and the prevailing climate change conditions, as key challenges facing Tanzanian farmers.
The sixth-phase government has substantially increased the Ministry of Agriculture’s budget from TSh 294 billion to a whopping TSh 970 billion to combat these issues. This funding will prioritize research on superior seeds, provision of subsidized fertilizers, enhancement of extension officers’ capacities, and implementation of youth farming programs.
Chimagu applauded Yara’s initiative, saying, “I commend Yara for organizing this farmers’ conference, which has highlighted the crucial role of such exhibitions and debates in spreading knowledge at the grassroots level. This will ensure continuity and further progress in agribusiness.”
Yara Tanzania’s Managing Director, Winstone Odhiambo, underscored the conference’s aim – to unite agricultural stakeholders to collectively improve individual farmers’ welfare and augment agriculture’s contribution to the national economy.
In tandem with the government’s drive, Yara Tanzania, led by Donat Fungo, is rolling out an educational program for college and university students via demonstration farms. Furthermore, they have prioritized providing women with agricultural jobs, empowering women and stimulating the sector.
Fungo stated, “We involve women and youth in agriculture, and we have joined the government in the BBT project to facilitate fertilizer availability. We welcome them to come and learn from us through the Yara Agriculture Expo exhibition to enhance their knowledge.”