Farmers urged to form groups to secure grants

20Feb 2017
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Farmers urged to form groups to secure grants

SMALLHOLDER farmers in ten regions under the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) have been called upon to form groups so as to access funds to boost production.

executive secretary of SAGCOT Catalytic Trust Fund (SGCOT CTF), Dr John Kyaruzi.

Speaking to journalists in Dar es Salaam over the weekend, the executive secretary of SAGCOT Catalytic Trust Fund (SGCOT CTF), Dr John Kyaruzi said it was a high time for farmers in the regions formed groups so that they could benefit from the catalytic funding.

“We have to change the system and set values and yardsticks for agribusiness,” he said, adding that there are some bottlenecks like quality products, infrastructure, water supply, fertilizers and best methods of preserving produce before selling.

For example, sugarcane farmers in Morogoro and Kagera regions, face several challenges such as poor road infrastructure which plays a role in the high rate of low production of their produce.

It is therefore vital to address the state of road infrastructure in those regions, particularly if the country is to achieve any meaningful economic development.

The government must adopt a holistic approach that underscores the need for a road system that guarantees safety, livability and a sense of community.

“We don’t believe in loans, it is a source of all these problems facing our farmers because you cannot give money to the person who only strives to get food....we want these small farmers to engage in commercial farming and help them get out of poverty,” he said.

At present the scheme supports farmers in 10 regions of Dar es Salaam, Morogoro, Coast, Dodoma, Singida, Rukwa, Njombe, Iringa, Songwe, Mbeya and Rukwa.

He said SAGCOT CTF supports industrial initiatives in those areas through agriculture and we encourage them to grow fruits, vegetables, cereal grains and livestock keeping as well.

The fund was established in 2010 in collaboration with government partners, smallholders, local and foreign investors as well as the embassies of various countries in Tanzania.

The aim of this catalytic fund is to ensure farmers mitigate the challenges that prevent them from getting ready markets for their products. However such produce should be of high quality in order to meet international standards.