Iringa, Tanzania: February 16, 2022 –

Alliance for a Green Revolution (AGRA) lead Partnership for Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa (PIATA) initiatives in Tanzania has increased agro-led industrialization-drive momentum. Agro-dealers, farmers organizations, aggregators and processors have increased uptake of their respective activities and production along the agriculture value chain, according to testimonies shared to former President of the United Republic of Tanzania H.E. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, by agriculture stakeholders in the Iringa Region during the first day of his week-long tour to PIATA partnership initiatives.

Dr Kikwete hailed self-made entrepreneurs along the agriculture value chain, who started small and steadily grew into bigger and formidable enterprises serving thousands of farmers. He attested that it was the way to take homegrown processing into huge and competitive enterprises.

Dr Kikwete, an AGRA board member, is accompanied by Hon. Anthony Mavunde, Deputy Minister for Agriculture. AGRA Tanzania Country Manager Vianey Rweyendela is hosting the delegation, including stakeholders drawn from the private and public sectors. With them also is Agnes Asiimwe Konde, Vice President, Program Innovation & Delivery.

The President expressed his satisfaction with using funds provided by AGRA and partners in Tanzania for beefing up the agricultural sector. The funds were provided in agribusiness consortia model.

“AGRA goals are being met, especially in improving the conditions of smallholder farmers,” he posited.

The President expressed his joy to see input suppliers and processors who have been supported by AGRA in one way or the other, taking their businesses to the next level and, in turn, helping thousands of farmers to improve their livelihood.

The President had a conversation with Mrs Magreth Aidan Sanga, an agro-input dealer trading as Iwawa General Supplies based in Iringa town. The business lady told Dr Kikwete in a season, she serves about 10,000 farmers directly and many others through 10 Village-based Advisors (VBAs) and about 15 retailers spread across Iringa and Njombe in the Southern Highlands.

“Every year, the business has been growing. I have managed to increase and improve my distribution channels thanks to PIATA partnership, which has brought the new challenges of growth, especially the need for more capital to supply VBAs,” she noted. PIATA’s resource partners include Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF); Rockefeller Foundation (RF); United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), and German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Mastercard, and IFAD were also key contributors.

Then the delegation visited Super Seki Investments, the largest fortified maize processor in the Southern Highlands, serving local and export markets. The firm’s CEO Ms. Rita Sekilovele, told Dr Kikwete, the firm has grown from humble roots, where she used to grind maize into flour and sell in “debes’- 20 kg tin container. “Today Super Seki buys maize from over 5000 smallholder farmers in a season, we provide them with inputs,” she said. PAITA partnership has been instrumental in providing farmers education and capacitating her to expand her warehouse. “ I have opened a branch in Ruvuma,” she said.

President Kikwete commended the growth of the business but added it was paramount for the factory to become more modernized and acquire state-of-art-plant to grow into the next level.

The delegation then visited Green Valley Agro (GVA), GBRI Solution and Agriedo, where the firm’s CEO Hadija Jabiri, had the opportunity to brief Dr Kikwete about their activities along the agricuture value chain. The firms have been working closely with the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT), vital in PIATA partnerships in Tanzania.

GVA is producing hybrid seeds (tomato) that are exported to Europe. According to Hadija her firms revolutionized how agriculture business is done and provided education to smallholder farmers around their farm on transforming their farming activities into modern enterprises.

The delegation also visited Silverlands Tanzania, one of the most remarkable farms in the southern highlands, which is involved in the multiplication of maize, sunflower, and potato seeds but at the same time focus on poultry, poultry feed, day-old chick and livestock. In the implementation of PIATA AGRA had partnered with Silverlands to provide aggregator and off-taker services to smallholder farmers.

Johnson Mhavile, informed the President the farm has come up with a new chicken variety, suitable for mass production, and what was needed was advocacy for more Tanzanians to start consuming the delicacy.

According to the national five-year development plan 2021/22 - 2025/2, which is the final plan for Tanzania's implementaion of Vision 2025 as the National overall development framework, at its heart is realising competitiveness and industrialization for human development. Increasing productivity in manufacturing using the resources available in abundance within the country is a key factor, and agro industrialisation drive is one of the nation’s low hanging fruit to take advantage of, noted private sector representative, Geoffrey Kirenga - Chief Executive Officer - SAGCOT.

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