One of SUGECO founders, Dr Anna Temu said yesterday that the institution has decided to assist rural farmers and especially youth add value to crops and earn more from commodities to stay home instead of flocking to towns where jobs are unavailable.
“Right now we have begun visiting different villages to train farmers on how to add value to their produce so they can earn more funds and reduce post-harvest losses,” Dr Temu said.
She pointed out that there is money in rural farming if youth and women are empowered to produce more quality commodities and supply urban markets.
“Fruits and vegetables are wasted on farms due to lack of processing facilities and poor infrastructure to reach markers on time,” she said.
Temu said the dryer has capacity of two tons of sweet potato crisps per day and similar other commodities hence allowing farmers to sell crisps which have a longer shelf life compared to fresh potatoes.
“Agriculture is much more than just farming, equipped with the right entrepreneurial and technical skills but also guidance from experienced mentors can help farmers be more productive,” she said.
Established in July 2011, SUGECO was initiated by a group of 40 members, primarily undergraduates in their final year of studies and postgraduate students of Sokoine University of Agriculture aspiring to start their own businesses after graduating, particularly in the agricultural sector.