Netherlands to help Dar improve food security

04Jul 2016
Our Reporter
The Guardian
Netherlands to help Dar improve food security

TANZANIA and Netherlands have signed a pact aimed at improving farm productivity for food security and income for smallholder farmers.

Potato

Under the agreement, Tanzania is to benefit from new agricultural technologies from the Netherlands.

Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries deputy minister, William Ole Nasha witnessed the signing on behalf of Tanzania and Netherlands minister for Agriculture Martijn van Dam on behalf of his country.

According to Ole Nasha, the improved seed potato will be imported from the former and multiplied for introduction to the farmers.

He said the initiative will boost the potato industry in Tanzania where the productivity is only 7.5 tonnes per hectare though experts say the potential can go as high as 30 tonnes per ha.

Area under potato production in Tanzania, he explained, has only increased slightly to 203,165 ha in 2012/2013 from about 177,241 ha in 2005/2006 season.

While total production has also slightly increased from 1.5 million tonnes in 2005/2006 to 1.7m in 2012/2013 season, productivity has incidentally dropped from 8.93 ha to 8.7 metric tonnes per ha.

"You can easily interpret from these statistics that round potato productivity is still low in Tanzania", he said recently in Arusha.

The deputy minister said government would give any support that is necessary to boost the potato production initiative through the modern technologies from the Netherlands.

"The underlying causes of low productivity are also due to low production technologies, pests and diseases, over dependence on rain fed agriculture, inadequate research, training and extension services and other causes" he said.

The Dutch minister, accompanied by a delegation of potential investors in the agricultural sector, said Tanzania has a great potential for high agricultural production but was faced with many challenges.

These include, among others, poor quality seeds, few storage facilities, land conflicts and poor access to modern and affordable agricultural inputs and markets.

Van Dam cited the southern highlands which, he said, has greater potential because of ample land, favourable weather, diverse agro-ecological zones. The other suitable areas are the highlands on the north which include the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru as well as the high altitude Lushoto district in Tanga region.

Dutch ambassador to Tanzania, Jaap Frederiks that revealed at a time Tanzania has only four varieties of round potatoes , his country has more than one hundred varieties.

Another agreement was signed at the same venue on June 16th between the Netherlands and the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) centre which the Dutch investors are seeking partnership in quality seeds and agricultural value chain development.

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