A statement released by the European Union (EU) in Dar es Salaam said the three South Agriculture Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) rice projects, to be launched by Deputy Minister for Agriculture Dr Mary Mwanjelwa have been funded by the EU and implemented by FAO Tanzania, HELVETAS Swiss Interco-operation and the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) Tanzania.
According to SAGCOT, Tanzania has a surplus of 400,000 metric tonnes of rice after surpassing the national demand of 800,000 metric tonnes annually.
Chief Executive Officer, Geoffrey Kirenga says agriculture in Tanzania is classified as a business for smallholder farmers. He says in the past three years, Tanzania has been self-sufficient in food supply by 95 per cent. Which was boosted in 2006 by the government launching the Agricultural Sector Development Programme to support smallholder farmers who constitute 75 per cent of the country’s population.
Small holder farmers have continued to record high production of rice as indicated by increased rice output from less than 800,000 tonnes in previous two years to 1.2 million tonnes. This has been attributed to SAGCOT’s contribution to rice farmers.
SAGCOT is an inclusive, multi-stakeholder partnership initiative by the World Economic Forum Africa summit 2010 whose aim is to support and develop the region’s agricultural potential.
SAGCOT’s objective is to foster inclusive, commercially successful agribusinesses that will benefit the region’s small-scale farmers, and in so doing, improve food security, reduce rural poverty and ensure environmental sustainability.
SAGCOT’s ambitious goals include bringing 350,000 hectares into profitable production, transforming over 10,000 small-scale farms into co commercial farms, creating 420,000 new employment opportunities, lifting two million people out of poverty and generating $1.2 billion in annual farming revenue by 2030.