Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: In its 2021 Annual Report, the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) has delineated a year of strategic perseverance, marked growth, and notable achievements in the agricultural sector. Despite the global upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, SAGCOT’s efforts have been instrumental in advancing agricultural resilience and productivity in Tanzania.
Introduction to SAGCOT’s Vision and Mission: SAGCOT, an initiative aimed at transforming agriculture in Tanzania, operates at the intersection of government policy, private sector dynamics, and grassroots agricultural practices. With a vision to catalyze sustainable, inclusive agricultural growth, SAGCOT has been at the forefront of empowering smallholder farmers, enhancing food security, and promoting environmental stewardship.
Expansion of Smallholder Farmer Engagement: A cornerstone of SAGCOT’s strategy is the empowerment and inclusion of smallholder farmers. In 2021, the organization significantly expanded its reach, engaging with 676,803 smallholder farmers, a 78.3% increase compared to the previous year. Remarkably, this demographic comprised 68.7% youth (aged 18-29) and 40% women, highlighting SAGCOT’s commitment to inclusive development. This expansive engagement underscores the organization’s role in nurturing a new generation of agri-entrepreneurs and promoting gender equity in agriculture.
Formation of Strategic Coalitions: In a strategic move to amplify its impact, SAGCOT facilitated the formation of 14 coalitions, surpassing its initial target of 5. These coalitions addressed various challenges in the agricultural sector, including regulatory and tax issues, and seized investment opportunities within strategic partnerships. This initiative signifies SAGCOT’s proactive approach in creating collaborative platforms that drive systemic changes and foster a conducive environment for agribusinesses.
Soil Health Initiatives in the Ihemi Cluster: A highlight of 2021 was the soil testing initiative in the Ihemi Cluster, involving 3,500 smallholder farms across 100 villages. This project, supported by OCP-Tanzania, emphasized the importance of soil health for agricultural productivity. Local district councils have allocated funds for buying soil-testing kits, showcasing the integration of SAGCOT’s initiatives into local government agendas. This effort reflects SAGCOT’s focus on sustainable agricultural practices and its commitment to evidence-based farming interventions.
Resilience Amidst COVID-19 and Funding Challenges: The year 2021 posed significant challenges, particularly due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated funding constraints. However, SAGCOT demonstrated remarkable resilience, continuing its operations at a reduced scale while adapting its activities to the available resources. The organization received financial and technical support from various international partners, including the FCDO, RNE, USDA, AGRA, and BMGF. This adaptability underlines SAGCOT’s capability to sustain its impact even in the face of adversity.
SAGCOT’s Role During the Pandemic: The COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented challenges to the agricultural sector, impacting supply chains and market dynamics. SAGCOT’s partners continued to provide essential services to farmers, ensuring the continuity of agricultural activities. This steadfastness highlights SAGCOT’s crucial role in safeguarding the agricultural sector during crises, ensuring that smallholder farmers remain supported and productive.
Looking Ahead – Future Goals and Strategies: As SAGCOT moves forward, the organization is focused on enhancing its strategies to support the evolving needs of the agricultural sector. This includes continuing to build resilience against global challenges, fostering innovation in agricultural practices, and expanding its network of partnerships. SAGCOT’s future goals revolve around sustaining the momentum of growth, promoting sustainable agricultural practices, and contributing significantly to Tanzania’s economic development.
The SAGCOT 2021 Annual Report is not just a reflection of the past year’s achievements but a testament to the organization’s enduring commitment to transforming agriculture in Tanzania. Through strategic initiatives, expansive farmer engagement, and a focus on resilience and innovation, SAGCOT continues to play a pivotal role in driving sustainable agricultural growth. The accomplishments of 2021, achieved in the face of significant global challenges, underscore the resilience, potential, and importance of Tanzania’s agricultural sector, with SAGCOT as a key facilitator and catalyst in this journey.