KIGOMA, TANZANIA – In a groundbreaking move, the newly constituted Board of Directors of the Tanzania Fertilizer Regulatory Authority (TFRA) has taken a proactive approach to address the challenges fertiliser distribution agents face in the Kigoma region. Their remarkable initiative to engage directly with stakeholders and listen to their concerns has earned them widespread acclaim from farmers and cooperatives.
Today, during a momentous joint working session, the TFRA Board, led by Chairman Dr Anthony Diallo, sat down with over 50 fertilizer agents and cooperatives in the region. This hands-on approach to governance reflects a commitment to understanding and addressing the issues faced by those at the forefront of Tanzania’s agriculture sector.
“We are here to learn, understand, and find lasting solutions,” stated Dr. Diallo, as he opened the session. This genuine effort to engage with stakeholders has earned TFRA high praise from various quarters, signifying a new era of collaboration and progress in the country’s agricultural landscape.
At the heart of the stakeholders’ applause was Joshua Ng’ondya, TFRA’s Central Region Manager, whose remarkable performance and amiable disposition have fostered strong relationships with the local agents. Farmers in the Kigoma region have expressed gratitude for the seamless implementation of the subsidy program during the 2022/2023 season, primarily attributed to Mr Ng’ondya’s dynamic leadership.
Yoram Kalosa, Chairman of the Fertilizer Agents in Kigoma, was effusive in his appreciation for the TFRA Board’s decision to venture beyond their office walls and listen to the concerns of those they serve. “This is a significant step forward,” he said, highlighting the rural nature of the farming community and the importance of direct interactions with local agents.
During the engaging session, fertilizer agents candidly shared their challenges in the previous season. Among the primary concerns was the limited number of agent centres, which resulted in arduous travel for farmers and increased production costs. The adoption of a digital system for subsidy distribution also posed operational challenges for agents and farmers alike. These issues were thoughtfully addressed, and the government was earnestly urged to facilitate system improvements before the upcoming farming season commences.
The TFRA Board was also urged to intervene in the matter of large companies limiting small agents to exclusively sell their brand of fertilizer exclusively, thereby restricting their freedom to choose from multiple suppliers. The agents sought a more equitable playing field to ensure greater market diversity and competitive pricing.
Furthermore, small agents’ financial constraints emerged as a significant impediment in the last season, as many could not purchase fertilizer from more prominent agents or companies due to inadequate capital. To foster an inclusive and thriving agricultural ecosystem, stakeholders called for measures to address this disparity.
In response to the concerns raised, TFRA’s Acting Manager of the Central Region, Joshua Ng’ondya, reassured the stakeholders of the authority’s commitment to empowering agents and cooperatives. He highlighted the ongoing registration process for all farmers through an enhanced system, enabling them to benefit from the subsidy program. Notably, the region has already provided training on the subsidized fertilizer sales system to 226 cooperatives, subsequently registering them as authorized fertilizer distribution agents.
The meeting served as a testament to the power of collaboration and genuine engagement in propelling Tanzania’s agricultural sector forward. By heeding the voices of those on the ground, the TFRA Board has set a remarkable precedent for inclusive governance and effective policy implementation.
With the TFRA leading the charge, a bright and transformative future awaits Tanzania’s agricultural landscape. The commitment to understanding and addressing the challenges the agents and cooperatives face promises to revolutionize the industry, foster rural development, and ensure food security for the nation. As the TFRA continues to empower agents and cooperatives, Tanzania’s agricultural potential is boundless, paving the way for a bountiful and prosperous future.