SAGCOT Centre wants to hear from you, our Partners. We know there are some concerns or general curiosity about our operations as a Centre or maybe you seek general information on the realization of the SAGCOT Initiative dream. This is your opportunity to ask and have your questions answered every month. To field your general questions please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This month, we have an interesting question from Filbert Kavia, from the Njombe Outgrowers Services Company (NOSC).
Filbert Kavia: Poor agricultural infrastructure such as roads, power, irrigation and storage facilities, is one of the biggest problems facing smallholder farmers in the region. How has SAGCOT Centre contributed towards addressing the problem in the SAGCOT region?
Geoffrey Kirenga: Thank you for your very important question Filbert. SAGCOT has one advantage over other institutions working in the agricultural sector; we are a non-partisan convener and occasional agitator. We work in partnership with relevant stakeholders towards the provision of services to many of the challenges our partners face. We ensure there is a structured and collective voice towards a solution.
Under the SAGCOT Initiative, the government and key development partners such as the EU, USAID and DFID were able to discuss and prioritize the building of the Kilombero-Ifakara road. This road is now under construction and the Hon President of Tanzania launched its construction on 4 May 2018. We are all looking forward to the successful construction and completion of this most important road in the Kilombero Cluster.
In 2017, the SCL Policy department conducted 3 studies in the areas of agri-inputs, land and road infrastructure and local content. Information gathered in the three studies together with information gathered from the Partnership Accountability Committee (PAC) and Policy Analysis Group (PAG) members in 2018 helped the department establish a baseline of private sector policy concerns to be discussed and validated for prioritization in 2018. In February 2018, the Policy department convened its public and private sector partners who collectively prioritized these three policy areas to be addressed in 2018.
The three Policy areas are:
As a result of this, roads in the Ihemi cluster, in Iringa and Njombe regions, were prioritized and scheduled for development by the Tanzania National Roads Agency (TANROADS) and Tanzania Rural and Urban Roads Agency (TARURA). For the first time, there was government interagency cooperation which brought together a team of 30 experts spanning Government agencies from: President Office – Regional Administration and Local Government(PO-RALG), Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries (MLF), Ministry of Finance and Planning (MOFP), Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication (MOWTC), Tanzania National Roads Agency (TANROADS) Regional Offices, Tanzania Rural and Urban Roads Agency (TARURA) HQ and Regional Offices and Regional Secretariats of Iringa and Njombe.
Electricity has also been a constant concern raised by partners especially food processors and those in value addition in the rural areas. SAGCOT Centre has convened a team of experts from Rural Energy Agency (REA), Tanzania Electricity Supply Company (TANESCO) and consultants; working hand in hand with our public and private partners developing a report to be presented to the Government, highlighting areas for resolution on the electricity challenges in the rural areas.
Experience indicates this pragmatic research to address real-time challenges is very informative and very useful to decision-makers when faced with prioritization challenges. Some partners’ access to electricity has also been resolved, as a result of this approach, such as in the case of the new Unilever tea factory in Njombe; as Public sector commitment met as per the 2018 Ihemi Cluster compact agreement.