November 03, 2015
Agriculture is Tanzania's life-blood
“About 90 percent of the people living in the Morogoro district in Eastern Tanzania are farmers. Most of their income depends on the agricultural sector,” says Yara Sales Agronomist, Peter Assey. “Common crops grown here by way of irrigation are rice and also we have maize, sweet potatoes and sugarcane. These are the major crops.” He was born in the Moshi Kilimanjaro region, famous for its coffee crop. He embarked on a career in agriculture in order to help his village and country as a whole to improve food production.
As part of this journey, Peter joined Yara, the world’s largest producers of mineral fertilizers and a world leader in sustainable agri-solutions. Here he works with both small-scale and commercial growers to improve practice, preserve the environment and help transform lives.
Increased productivity with good agricultural practices
Training is key to this objective. “We have created demonstration plots, so that the farmers can see and learn by doing,” he says. “Previously, crops only yielded about five bags per acre, but since we came in, they are now going up to 30 to 40 bags per acre.”
As part of promoting public/private partnerships in agriculture, the private sector started an initiative in collaboration with the Tanzanian government known as the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania, or SAGCOT designed to focus on investments in agriculture and bringing small holder farmers into the value chain.
Adding a firm approach towards sustainability performance, a partnership between the private sector, academia and the farmers themselves was formed. This collaboration, known as the Environment and Climate Compatible Agriculture partnership, was designed to examine whether improved protocols for agricultural intensification could co-exist with environmental stewardship and deliver increased yield and profitability to small holder farmers.
“The aim of the project is to apply good agricultural practice in an environment where the agricultural productivity is still very low, using state-of-the-art science and also inputs-fertilizer for instance,” says Dirk Schroder, Regional Agronomist, Yara Sub-Saharan Africa.
With 9 demonstrations plots in 2 regions, the mindset of farmers is changing harvest by harvest and scaling up implementation of best practices across Tanzania is a logical next step.
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