Tanzania Association of Professional Business Development Service Providers (TAPBDS) Company Limited’s Project Manager, Joshua Ongaga said last week during the launch of the manufacturing equipment that AGRA’s move is aimed at reducing post harvest losses to farmers.
Ongaga said because of the grant, prices of the simple crop processing machines has fallen from 2m/- each to 900,000/-. “Machines being manufactured include maize and rice milling equipment, maize and beans threshing machines, sunflower oil extractors and spare parts,” he said.
He said the AGRA funded project has already given four similar simple crop processing equipment manufacturing plants to Mbeya, Njombe, Rukwa and Ruvuma regions targeting to reduce post harvest losses which peak 40 percent per annum. “In total, AGRA in collaboration with TAPBDS has donated equipment worth 600m/- so far,” Ongaga revealed.
The project has also benefitted over 30 farmers who have since received simple crop processing machines the four regions plus Iringa, Katavi, Kagera and Kigoma regions. “At TAPBDS we strongly believe that this project will play a significant role in reducing post harvest losses but also improve farmers’ earnings due to value addition of commodities,” he added.
In a vote of thanks after receiving the manufacturing equipment, Nondo Investment Limited’s owner and Managing Director, Raymond Kamtoni said his company also receives crops from farmers for processing.
“My company has hired six agriculture experts who advise smallholder farmers on better crop husbandry practices,” Kamtoni said while adding that the company has capacity to mill 25 tons of maize flour, 20 tons of rice, 10 tons of sunflower oil per month.
Speaking during the inaugural ceremony, Katavi Regional Commissioner, Mwamvua Mrindoko said the AGRA grant is an important investment to her region whose economy is over 90 percent dependant on agriculture.
“This project will definitely help our region improve its earnings from agriculture because of value addition to commodities but also reduction of post harvest losses,” Mrindoko said saying smallholder farmers have stopped manual maize threshing which also affected quality of the product.