TANZANIA – The journey of agricultural transformation in the southern highlands of Tanzania, spanning from the bustling port city of Dar es Salaam to the Zambian border, has witnessed profound changes in recent years, thanks to the initiatives of the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGGOT). This public-private partnership collaborates with the Tanzanian government, private enterprises, and developmental partners to uplift the agricultural sector, and by extension, the socio-economic fabric of the region.
During AGRF summit in Dar es Salaam, Ms Tulalumba Mloge Cluster & Partnerships Manager sat with two beneficiaries, Mr. Mgaya and Mr. Kibwana, to get a first-hand account of the impact SAGGOT has had on their lives and the broader community.
From $1 to Flourishing Farms
Mr. Mgaya’s journey began in 2015, cultivating in a small farmers’ plot in Njombe. Earning less than a dollar a day, he produced around five tons of crops. The intervention of SAGGOT, through on-ground demonstrations, soil testing, and educational classes, boosted his output to a staggering 20 tons, especially in potato and avocado farming.
SAGGOT’s strategies also transformed community perspectives. From groups initially focused on basic survival, they were steered towards entrepreneurial ventures. With support extending from registration to training, farmers like Mgaya were connected to trusts that imparted the nuances of agribusiness.
It was this very entrepreneurial spirit that allowed Mr. Mgaya to expand his knowledge and expertise. Following a successful showcase at the Nane Nane agricultural exhibition, farmers from other regions approached him. Leveraging the ‘farmer-to-farmer’ model, he began setting up nurseries, conducting soil analyses, and teaching the art of avocado farming. This initiative has since benefited approximately 480,000 farmers across various regions, including Mbeya, Rukwa, Dodoma, and Morogoro.
Youth in Business
Mr. Kibwana, representing the younger demographic, voiced challenges regarding initial capital requirements. After several consultations, a 30-member group was established, where every member contributes a fixed sum weekly. This created a sustainable model for internal lending. Located primarily at the strategic highway between Dar es Salaam and Mbeya, near the Iringa and Morogoro junction, their business drew the attention of SAGGOT. With the organization’s guidance, they transitioned into a formalized group, expanding their business prospects.
Today, with SAGGOT’s sustained support, this youth-led enterprise is not only thriving in its original domain but has also ventured into agricultural and livestock sectors.
The Way Forward
SAGGOT’s approach, rooted in collaboration, innovation, and empowerment, shines as a beacon of hope for Tanzanian farmers. By treating every farmer as a vital cog in the economic machinery, the organization is weaving a narrative of inclusive growth and sustainable development. Through these endeavours, the southern highlands are gradually transforming into a corridor of prosperity.