Horticulture, potato platform to spur seed industry

ARUSHA: BETTER days for horticultural and potato growers and consumers are in the offing, as their captains have unveiled a platform to serve as a tool to address hurdles that constrained growth of the industry.

Dubbed, Tanzania Horticulture and Potato Seed Platform (THPSP), the first of its kind, the forum’s establishment is being bankrolled by the Netherlands Embassy and will be hosted by Tanzania Horticultural Association (TAHA).

The launch of THPSP in October 4, 2023 in Arusha, by the Director of Crops Development (DCD), Mr Nyasebwa Chimagu, on behalf of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, ushered in a new dawn for horticulture and potato crops seed improvement.

In his remarks, Mr Chimagu expressed his profound gratitude to the members of the Platform, specifically recognising TAHA, Tanzania Seed Trade Association (TASTA), the World Vegetable Centre, SAGCOT, Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute (TOSCI) and the Dutch Embassy.

He commended their strategic initiatives, which significantly poised to contribute to the realisation of the objectives outlined in the National Horticulture Development Strategy 2021/2031, with a particular focus on the Sixth strategic objective of strengthening coordination, institutional and policy framework.

He underscored the importance of open dialogues on matters of common interest and noted that this approach aligns perfectly with the agenda and aspirations of the Ministry of Agriculture.

Ambassador of the Netherlands to Tanzania, Wiebe de Boer, thanked TAHA for taking the lead in organising the launch event and Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) for providing seed funds to operationalise the platform.

He pointed out that for over 50 years, Tanzania and the Netherlands have been working together to develop the agriculture sector, mainly in horticulture, potatoes, aquaculture and poultry.

This collaboration has led to Dutch private sector investments in horticulture and potato mainly in the seed sub-sector.

The envoy stressed that horticulture and potatoes are very promising industries that can contribute to food security, quality nutrition and employment for women and youths.

Ambassador de Boer further explained that he is optimistic that the launched platform will be a stepping-stone for future discussions, exchange of knowledge and learning from each other on how best to strengthen the seed system.

The THPSP Chairman who doubles as the CEO of TASTA, Mr Baldwin Shuma said that the overall objective of the Platform is to strengthen partnership and coordination of actors.

“This Platform is supported and funded by the Dutch Embassy to a large extent. However other partners like AGRA have also expressed interest in supporting this initiative” Mr Shuma said, amid applause from the floor.

TAHA Chief Development Manager, Mr Anthony Chamanga noted that horticulture accounts for a remarkable 17.5 per cent in the country’s food security basket.

He commended the government’s unwavering dedication to fortifying Tanzania’s seed sector.

For his part, World Vegetable Centre – Regional Director of Eastern and Southern Africa, Dr Gabriel Rugalema said that the horticulture sub-sector sees a good political will and action on developing the agriculture sector from the 6th Phase Government.

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