‘Implement SAGCOT model countrywide’

DAR ES SALAAM: DELEGATES who attended a meeting here dubbed ‘towards feeding Africa by 2030’, have recommended that a Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) model be conceived and implemented countrywide.

They argued that the application of the model countrywide will significantly help to increase   agricultural productivity and shore up national efforts in creating jobs for youths.

SAGCOT was created in 2010 as a public-private partnership that seeks to develop Tanzania’s agricultural sector by fostering responsible agri-business investments, but currently Sagcot focuses on the southern regions.

SAGCOT uses a cluster system to promote people’s livelihoods.  A cluster groups together three or four regions.  The meeting was informed that a cluster is a geographic concentration of interconnected companies, specialised suppliers, service providers and associated institutions.  In a cluster small farmers get timely what they need to enhance farming productivity, while direct and indirect jobs are created simultaneously.

Now that Tanzania is focusing on increasing agricultural activity to create huge surpluses in food crops and increase exports, delegates called for a SAGCOT model and have it implemented throughout the country.

Kinondoni District Commissioner Saadi Mtambule, representing Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner, told the meeting that it is time agricultural stakeholders cooperated with the SAGCOT centre in order to develop a ‘SAGCOT model’ and have it implemented in their own regions.

“With emergence of Sagcot many Tanzanians have been drawn into farming because farming now makes business sense to them; productivity has increased, jobs are created too.  In Ihemi cluster (Iringa, Njombe and Ruvuma Regions) crop value chains are found everywhere in agriculture, livestock and fishery sectors. We witness production of avocado, Irish potatoes and maize rising sharply,” he said adding that farming stakeholder should work with Sagcot to have clusters in their places and create jobs for youths.

Mr Benno Mgaya, from Rusitu, Njombe Region, testified to how Ihemi Cluster transformed farming in the region by opening opportunities for small farmers and youths. “Disposable income of small farmers has increased and institutions are earning more than they used to earn,” he reported.

SAGCOT Chief Executive Officer, Mr Geoffrey Kirenga, welcomed the idea and pledged that the SAGCOT centre will work on ideas and recommendations made by the meeting, adding that the centre will work with all regions in order to achieve the feed Africa initiative.

“Our meeting seeks to implement President Samia Hassan’s directive on agriculture embedded in the initiative,” he said.

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