Agriculture minister Prof Adolf Mkenda yesterday launched the ‘business model’ strategy designed to encourage graduates into commercial farming as a business venture.
The plan coordinated by the Sokoine University Graduate Entrepreneurs Cooperative (SUGECO) is part of the institution’s strategy to ensure its graduates engage directly to spur transformation in the agricultural sector.
"I appeal to financial institutions in the country to provide soft loans to achieve the implantation of the business model plan by attracting many young graduates,” he said, noting that the strategy will place more skills in agro-sector activity and contribute to the country’s industrial development.
“We need intense agricultural transformation to spur industrial investment, raising farmers’ incomes and national income in general,” the minister asserted.
As for now agriculture contributes one-third of the gross domestic product, while gainfully taking up well over two-thirds of the population, which makes it difficult to free the farmer from poverty, he stated.
He praised SUA for creating SOGECO as its contribution was huge in the agricultural sector.
“The plan will bring benefits in crop production and make the country competitive in world markets, as well as taking the farmer out of poverty,” he said.
He praised authorities in Nzega, Kibiti and Liwale districts for working together with SUGECO, setting aside areas for the plan’s local implementation. “The government will continue working together with all stakeholders to ensure it is implemented countrywide,” he declared.
For his part SUGECO Managing Director Revocatus Kimario said the business model aims to uplift value chain integration to crops farmed by members of the cooperative, to bring them into line with market needs.
“Our aim is to bring essential services to farmers in one area to simplify the procurement of various needs and serve individual farmers on account of infrastructure challenges,” the director noted.
Yohana Tewa, a SUA graduate and SIGECO beneficiary said the plan will solve challenges of crop markets, transforming agriculture to feature more strategically in solving unemployment problems.
SUGECO has become part of the drive that pulls graduates to commercial farming, enabling those who already started to develop themselves economically and plan for the future, the participant added.