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Potato farmers in Tanzania get recommendation to use Mechanization

Growing seed potatoes in Tanzania (Courtesy: New Markets Lab)

In a bid to increase yields of Irish potatoes production in Tanzania, Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzanians (SAGCOT) has introduced a new system where its growers are encouraged to use modern tilling tractors in its pilot study areas.

The SAGCOT Centre Limited Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr Geoffrey Kirenga, yesterday told stakeholders attending a workshop organised to increase yields of the crop by hiring the tractors capable of tilling the ground in such a way that the crop’s seeds get enough nutrients in the ground.

Geoffrey Kirenga, Chief Executive Officer, SAGCOT Centre Limited:

“On our part we are encouraging the growers to till, plant and manure their plots after using the tractors to plough.”

“The next stage will be training them on how to use the tractors also in harvesting.”
The CEO said using the tractors will be cheap and should replace the traditional hoes which render them tired at the end of the day as well as tilling only a small piece of land. He said SAGCOT is a strategic stakeholder with 700m/- in custody being run by Tanzania and a Dutch potato seed multiple project that seeks to introduce 14 varieties of the crop in the country.

Geoffrey Kirenga:

“SAGCOT has accumulated enough experience in the field because it has, what is currently known as SAGCOT Potato Partnership in Njombe Region - a coalition of partners who in the last few years managed to improve seeds and mechanisations in the area.”

What is SAGCOT

The Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor Tanzania (SAGCOT) covers approximately one-third of mainland Tanzania. It extends north and south of the central rail, road and power ‘backbone’ that runs from Dar es Salaam to the northern areas of Zambia and Malawi.

The Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) is an agricultural partnership designed to improve agricultural productivity, food security and livelihoods in Tanzania.

It was initiated at the World Economic Forum Africa summit in May 2010, following which the SAGCOT Investment Blueprint was launched nationally by Prime Minister Pinda in Dar es Salaam and internationally by H.E. President Kikwete at the 2011 World Economic Forum in Davos. The Investment Blueprint showcases investment opportunities in the Corridor and lays out a framework of institutions and activities required to reap the development potential.

SAGCOT has the potential to make a serious and significant impact by bringing together government, business, donor partners and the farming community to pool resources and work together towards a common goal. It is a comprehensive and inclusive initiative. By addressing the entire agricultural value chain, the SAGCOT approach will go beyond raising agricultural productivity and ensure the necessary infrastructure, policy environment and access to knowledge to create an efficient, well-functioning agricultural value chain.

SAGCOT is about doing things differently to get things done and to make a real difference. This is about business as unusual.

Source: SAGCOT
Meanwhile, the Dutch government representative, Mr Jos van Meggelen, commenting at the seminar, said the training was timely and will improve the crop yields in the areas.

Jos van Meggelen, Dutch government representative:

“Because the initial response of the stakeholders has been overwhelming, we now have a cause to think and talk to the government of Tanzania to start similar projects in other places.”