Constructed under the auspices of the Expanding Rice Production Project (ERPP), the equipped facilities at Morogoro- based ASA headquarters is projected to play a vital role in spurring production and productivity of quality improved seeds.
ERPP also aims to increase rice produced and marketed in targeted areas of Morogoro Region and in Zanzibar, leading to improved rural incomes and food security.
Speaking during an event to inaugurate the laboratory, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Gerald Kusaya, said availability of the seed quality laboratory was among chain of plans by the government to modernize the country's agriculture sector.
Kusaya said, “Today, we're happy that at least construction works for this laboratory has been finalized at the intended extents,”
He explained that the parent ministry is currently looking forward to make sure that modern facilities are installed at the laboratory in order to enable it dispense activities at high technological levels.
“Since the government gears to improve production and productivity of all food and cash crops that flourishes in the country, a need for modern laboratories and equipments to enable innovations, verification and checking of varieties of improved seeds and other inputs becomes vital,” he said.
The PS said the government is currently working round the clock to contain the challenge of shortage of improved seed challenging experts at ASA to work tirelessly in cooperation with their counterparts from the private sector in order to ensure that farmers are supplied with enough seeds for all the crops.
“The country's development greatly relies in this sector. It is high time you work hard and more vigilant to ensure further develop the sector,” he insisted.
Kusaya also launched two new tractors, made Valtra from Brazil with HP 95 capacity which associates implements such as plough, planters and boom sprayers.
ASA Chief Executive Officer, Dr Sophia Kashenge, extended her sincerely gratitude to the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Finance for listening and timely respond to their challenges.
She said the two tractors make a total of five new tractors with 95 to 125 HP Capacity bought within two years.
“We have seen some positive performance and responses from our farm supervisors, the work has become easier because back in 2017/18 we had few and old tractors that we used in three different farms located in three regions. We are now aiming to have tractors in each farm,” she explained.
Kasgenge added: “We have also increased the number of farms to eleven. The agency is in a process of renovating some of the old tractors while looking for more funds to purchase more tractors.”
ASA seed technologist, Grace Matina demonstrated some trial activities on stepwise procedures on how the laboratory is going to work. She said that from now onwards the agency is ready to use the available resource and work efficiently.