Speaking to media at Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair (DITF), TARI director general Dr. Geoffrey Mkamilo said TARI has different technologies ranging from improved seed varieties to post harvest management.
The current priority of the research institute is to scale up production, achieve agricultural productivity, food and nutrition and spur the nation’s economy.
He said in this 6th phase government of President Samia Suluhu TARI’s high agenda on the table is to generate and promote application of knowledge, innovation and agricultural technologies to enable farmers and the nation achieve sustainable agriculture and ensure food security.
“Given high demand of different technologies, it is not a time for walking any more but running. We are confident that our research activities and technologies will ensure great change in the way our farmers and stakeholders conduct agriculture and productivity,” he said.
Besides, strengthening national agricultural research system to enhance development and dissemination of technologies, innovations and management practices are on the agenda to ensure farmers needs are adequately addressed.
“We are exhibiting different technologies here to bring them closer to the farmers and other stakeholders along the value chain. TARI is determined to ensure that improved technologies reach the end users using different dissemination pathways, among them is the use of DITF opportunities.
Citing an example he said TARI started to showcasing the technologies to the farmers at all agricultural exhibition grounds across the country. in recent years, the research institute has launched agricultural technology transfer hubs. The first agricultural technology transfer hub started in 2020 as pilot at Nyakabindi in Baridi, Simiyu region and recently the Institute launched similar hub at Mwalimu Nyerere agricultural exhibition ground in Morogoro. He Dr. Mkamilo named the available technologies which can benefit the farmers as: Improved crop varieties which offer much higher yields, better quality, and more stable production. TARI in collaboration with partners has undertaken research and produced improved varieties on crops including cereals, roots and tubers, grain legumes, oil seed, banana, cotton, coffee, tobacco, sisal, cashew, sugarcane, and horticultural crops.
At DITF, TARI is also demonstrating post harvest management which focuses on enhancing the use of affordable and effective post-harvest and storage technologies by developing and promoting post-harvest and handling technologies; standards of different crop produce and by products; and improved storage technologies.
Food processing and value addition technologies are other technologies being showcased at the fair for improved nutrition and food security.
The farmers and other stakeholders also learnt about good agro practices. Forexample, at cotton pavilion, researchers showcased sowing space to the cotton crop. They said the farmer can use spacing of 90cmX40cm for more yield.
The performance of new spacing can increase yield weight by 50 percent compared to the traditional method.
TARI Mlingano centre director Dr. Catherine Senkoro explained called on the farmers to establish soil quality and status first before they can invest in agriculture.
She said soil TARI has mapped the country's soil and other natural resources at a scale that is used for planning at farm, district, regional and national levels.
The Institute has conducted research on various aspects of soil and identified production systems.
It has also developed plant nutrition recommendations packages specific for selected soils, agro - climatic and social circumstances.
Citing an example of Sunflower crop which is being given emphasis due to its importance in curbing shortage of edible oil, she said that TARI Mlingano centre has already prepared and produced soil maps for Dodoma, Singida and Simiyu regions. The maps show highly suitable places for growing the crop.
Currently the country need a total of 570,000 metric tons of vegetable Oil but current production stands at 40 percent of the required edible oil while 60 percent is actually imported, costing approximately 443 bn/- annually
Therefore, she said TARI has decided to produce maps that show potential districts and regions for growing the crop.
“The government’s mission is to boost boost Sunflower crop. The available information are very important to be considered by the farmers, investors, traders and stakeholders along the value chain before they venture into agriculture.
She said TARI has produced well researched information and reports which the investors can use to select appropriate areas for investment.
“As the country embarks on short term plans to reduce importing edible oil, TARI has produced reports showing areas suitable for cultivation of Sunflower crop. For Dodoma forexample, the areas which are highly suitable for Sunflower crop is around 38 percent of the total area and in terms of highly, medium and low suitable areas is almost 82.5 percent of the total area,” she said.
Likewise sisal crop, TARI has soil map showing highly suitable areas for the crop which small and large farmers can use to produce the crop and other crops.
“Therefore, all prospective investors should visit TARI pavilion to learn more information about the crop and other crops,” she said.
TARI’s director of technology transfer and partnership Dr. Juliana Mwakasendo farmers, welcomed agricultural stakeholders saying TARI provides advice good agricultural practices for each crop, where to grow it and related technologies.
“As TARI our main mission is to address challenges facing the farmers and promoting application of knowledge, innovation and agricultural technologies to stakeholders along the value chain. That’s why we have improved seeds which the farmers and other stakeholders can use to increase production and productivity,” she said
She said TARI has 17 centres, each with a certain mandate. Forexample, TARI Mlingano centre in Tanga region has already prepared and produced soil maps for Dodoma, Singida and Simiyu regions. The maps show highly suitable places for growing the crop.
She said that through TARI Makutupora centre in Dodoma the farmers can learn different technologies and value addition on grapes.
TARI Naliendele centre in Mtwara, one can learn agricultural best practices Cashewnuts and value chains.
At TARI-Kihinga in Kigoma, the farmers can learn technologies and good agro-practices for oil palm farming.
She said currently the centre has researched new oil palm seeds called Tenera which produces almost five times the traditional Dura seeds. Military Institutions namely Kwitanga Prison service and Bulombora 821 KJ and some district councils in Kigoma region are effectively and efficiently playing their key role of speeding up production and dissemination of the improved seeds to the farmers, investors.
TARI Kibaha centre is one of Tanzania Agriculture Research Institute centres that carries out sugarcane research activities.
It also produces different technologies for the farmers.
TARI Kibaha centre has reliable technologies related to improved varieties, good agricultural practices or diseases and paste management. They are all available here at DITF. They are being transferred to the farmers through farmer field days, agriculture exhibition, and media. For example, seven good improved varieties already available for sugarcane cultivation are N41, N12, N19, N25,R570,R575, and R579.
“All these technologies are available here at TARI pavilions each centre with specific technologies which the farmers and other stakeholders can come and learn,” she stressed.