EU issues 15bn/- towards boosting agriculture

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THE European Union has released 6.5 million euros (15bn/-) as aid to Tanzania as part of its support for enabling condition for sustainable agricultural transformation in the southern parts of the country.

In the new contract signed here yesterday, the government will topup some 3.5bn/- to support the Southern Agriculture Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) initiative which seeks to achieve rapid and sustainable growth in small-holder agriculture in the southern corridor.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, the Deputy Minister for Minerals and Energy, Eng Medardi Kalemani, said the combined funding will help in the construction of a 220/33 kV substation in Kilombero. In addition, he said a 70 kilometre extension of power line distribution will be built from Kilombero to Ulanga District.

“The aim is to support smallholder farmers in Ifakara, Kilombero and Ulanga,” he said, adding that upon completion, the project will directly benefit some 1,050 people.

“We want to improve agriculture production by enabling irrigation farming and therefore assure of sufficient agro-produce for the booming industry sector in the country,” he told reporters. Tanzania, one of Africa’s biggest per capita aid recipients, inked the pact with the EU Head of Cooperation, Mr Jose Nunes.

Observers said the project will improve living condition for people residing in rural areas with better access to reliable energy.

It will also open up potentials for agriculture investment on agro-processing industries, value chain and improved services Eng Kalemani explained that after implementing the project in the southern corridor, plans are going on to improve power generation and distribution. “We expect more people will benefit, considering the available infrastructure developed by the rural energy agency-REA.”

A release issued by the EU quoted Mr Nunes as saying “Ensuring access to affordable, reliable, clean and modern energy is a key area of EU engagement in Tanzania.” The funding emanated from the 10th European Development Fund (EDF).

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