TANZANIA: THE United States Agency for International Development (USAID) celebrated the first-year achievements for the Feed the Future Tanzania Kilimo Tija (Productive Agriculture) project at the Ministry of Agriculture Training Institute (MATI) Ilonga, in Kilosa, Morogoro.
The event highlighted the project’s achievements and emphasised the grant partnership with MATI Ilonga, which commenced in May 2023.
This collaboration played a pivotal role in establishing a horticulture training centre (PTC) and providing training on productivity-boosting technologies to government extension staff, MATI – Ilonga students, and the Building Better Tomorrow Youth in Agriculture (BBT/YIA) participants.
The Ministry of Agriculture’s Coordinator for International Coordination and Corporation in Agriculture Development, Ms Dainess Mtei, attended as the guest of honour. She was joined by USAID and government officials, private sector representatives, farmers and media.
The event not only presents an opportunity for stakeholders to celebrate Kilimo Tija’s year one achievements, but also serves as a platform to discuss how Tanzania’s horticulture sector might be transformed into a regional powerhouse.
In his remarks, the USAID/Tanzania Economic Growth Office Deputy Director, Plato Hieronimus emphasised the importance of partnership between Tanzania, the United States and the private sector to generate opportunities for youth development and job creation.
“Without the critical inputs from the private sector and enormous support from the government of Tanzania, this USAID project would not be possible. Because of this partnership, 2,500 Tanzanian micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) will have the support they need to invest 20 million US dollars in growth and generate 7,400 new jobs,” he said.
Over the course of implementation (2022-2027), the project also seeks to achieve a 15 per cent annual revenue growth for the enterprises and over 100,000 US dollars in sales of produce from smallholder farmers.
In its initial phase, the PTC facility was utilised to provide hands-on training to over 420 beneficiaries, including MATI lecturers and students, extension staff, farmers and 84 BBT-YIA youths incubated at the facility to get practical knowledge and skills in horticulture.
The fruitful collaborations among USAID Kilimo Tija and the MATI-Ilonga teams to the PTC initiative resulted in investments exceeding 124.8m/- at the MATI Ilonga 5-acre demonstration facility, equipped with modern farming technologies. The facility will continue to equip extension staff with the knowledge and skills needed to effectively support smallholder farmers in the region.
Targeting Tanzania’s Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania “SAGCOT” regions of Iringa, Mbeya, Morogoro, and Njombe, along with Zanzibar’s Unguja and Pemba islands, USAID’s $37.9 million Kilimo Tija’s primary goal is to sustainably increase economic opportunities in horticulture market systems, with a special focus on youth.
The project works with public and private sector associations, youth-led and women-focused institutions and national and local government authorities to enhance horticulture market systems and unlock economic opportunities, particularly for the youth.