ARUSHA: THE government in collaboration with the European Union (EU) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has provided essential equipment that will bolster the capacity of the Tanzania Plant Health and Pesticide Authority (TPHPA).
The equipment will help the authority to strengthen plant health for enhanced food safety.
The equipment include seven cars, 20 drones, 19 motorcycles, 34 desktop computers, 41 galaxy tablets, 17 under counter lab mini refrigerators, 17 mini lab inspection tables, 17 WiFi routers, 17 Ethernet Switch and 17 Illuminated magnifiers worth a total of 2.2 bn/-.
Speaking during the handover ceremony on Wednesday in Arusha, the Deputy Minister for Agriculture, David Silinde said that the state-of the art resources are an integral part of the several deliverables of the Strengthening Plant Health Services in Tanzania for Enhanced Food Safety (STREPHIT) project.
Silinde said the overall budget of the four- year project is 10.6 million Euros (equivalent to 28bn/-) with EU contributing 10 million Euros, FAO tabling 350,000 Euros and Tanzania government contributed 250,000 Euros.
“This equipment will enable TPHPA to improve systems, increase the control of pesticides and add value.
“The project is being implemented in Mainland and Zanzibar,” said Silinde.
He said the strengthening of TPHPA is one of the ministry’s priorities of ensuring that it increases the export of crops from 1.2 billion US dollars to 5 billion US dollars through quality inspection and control services.
For his part, FAO representative in Tanzania, Ms Nyabenyi Tipo said the STREPHIT project is funded through a contribution agreement between Tanzanian government, EU and FAO thus is a testament to a shared commitment to advancing agricultural practices and ensuring food safety for both domestic and international market.
She said TPHPA is a crucial organisation in preserving food security of the country and its agricultural markets.
“I would like to implore the government of Tanzania to actively support TPHPA with adequate funding to allow it to function as it was intended during the review of the Plant Protection Act,” said Ms Tipo.
The EU Head of Natural Resources on behalf of the EU delegation to Tanzania, Mr Lamine Diallo said they were proud to partner with Tanzania in strengthening plant health for enhanced food safety.
“This symbolic handover of essential equipment marks a significant milestone in the STREPHIT project and we are confident that it will help the authority to better protect the country’s crops and ensure safe food for all Tanzanians,” said Mr Diallo.
The TPHPA Acting Director General, Prof Joseph Ndunguru said the essential equipment will boost regional agriculture trade and capacity of the country to respond swiftly to emerging pests and diseases.
Prof Ndunguru said the event signifies a milestone of joint efforts to improve the agricultural landscape in Tanzania.
“It demonstrates the commitment to fostering sustainable practices ensuring food safety and fortifying the nation’s position in the global agricultural arena,” said Prof Ndunguru.
He said the equipment will address administrative and technical constraints relevant to plant health that deteriorate agricultural trade and endanger food security and safety.