Friday 23 November 2018 will be a day engraved in the hearts and minds of many as the SAGCOT Initiative reached the halfway mark; launching the third priority SAGCOT Cluster; Kilombero, of 6 anticipated clusters.
The launch was graced by various SAGCOT partners from agribusinesses, development partners, non-state actors, farmers’ associations, regional and national government, government agencies, members of parliament, and ministers.
Kilombero Cluster covers Morogoro region, the second largest region in Tanzania covering 7% of Tanzania’s land mass. This region is a breadbasket which produces 30 per cent of all food consumed in the country, 52 per cent of all rice consumed in Tanzania comes from Morogoro.
“The region is embarking on plans to build 2 factories, for processing paddy and sunflower oil. Morogoro region is highly competitive in the production of cocoa and cashew, hence the need for processors in these crops.” Hon Dr Kebwe Stephen Kebwe, Regional Commissioner, Morogoro pointed out during the launch.
This region is rich in arable land with a huge potential for irrigation. The climate and soils are conducive for the cultivation of over 50 different crops and commodities. Through an inclusive research-based process, SAGCOT Partners across the private, public, non-state actor sectors and farmer groups in the Kilombero cluster, will identify the most promising agricultural commodities to prioritise in 2019.
This will allow Kilombero cluster to clearly define its agribusiness framework of operation; ensuring all policy, environmental, social and business operation challenges are resolved. This resolution will yield extremely productive and profitable agribusiness value chains which will transform the lives and businesses of the Kilombero Cluster.
Throughout the launch, there was key emphasis placed by speakers on the importance of partnership.
Lazoro Mwakipesile, general manager, Raphael group ltd, in Mbeya currently works with 15,000 smallholder farmers, six thousand of whom he supplies farm inputs. This he credits the SAGCOT Partnership; because through engagement with partners Yara, Kilimo Trust and National Microfinance Bank (NMB), Raphael group was able to increase farmer input supply and market assurance.
Soya farmers from Wanging’ombe district, Njombe region, shared their glowing tributes to the SAGCOT partnership which has seen soya farmers linked to potential markets through another SAGCOT partner Silverlands. The farmers were also able to access improved seed varieties through another SAGCOT partner SeedCo which has seen productivity grow to 1.5 tonnes per hectare. Yields they could only dream of prior to their engagement in the SAGCOT partnership.
There was also key emphasis placed on environmental protection in agricultural investment in the new cluster. Members of the Green Reference Group (GRG) encouraged collective involvement of all stakeholders to ensure environmental conservation in agri-investments and social protection of communities in the cluster. GRG assured their continued support in monitoring and guidance of all stakeholders in Kilombero Cluster towards best practices in environmental and social safeguards.
The official launch and final remarks from the Minister of Agriculture, Hon Japhet Hasunga (MP) reiterated the need for partnership.
“For true transformation, there must be a true partnership between smallholder farmers, mid-sized farmers and large-scale farmers, none of them can succeed in isolation.”