Managing director of Petrobena East Africa Limited Peter Kumalilwa said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that agri-business stakeholders in Tanzania are thankful to the Norwegian government for allocating money to promote the entire production process of small farmers.
“This is a unique opportunity for us working directly with farmers. We know the entire production process of small farmers is filled with small prohibitive problems; they have unreliable supply chain of inputs, they lack training and extension services, they face marketing constraints. All these frustrating limitations damage small farmers’ wellbeing. If the money offered by Norway will be used gainfully, it will go a long way in solving all these constraints,” he said.
Kumalilwa said peasants are the biggest force the nation depends on to transform Tanzania into a middle-income industrial nation by 2025.
“Peasants are the producers who feed this nation and help it earn foreign currency. They produce raw materials for our industries. They deserve serious attention,” he argued.
Petrobena East Africa Limited, the main distributor of Yara fertiliser, is one of the companies which formed strategic group of agri-business stakeholders in Tanzania. The company specialises in distribution of fertiliser and farm inputs to rural small farmers.
In an agreement signed recently between Norway and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the former pledged to give Farm to Market Alliance three million US dollars that will help small farmers improve their lot.
Kumalilwa described the money as a big support to Tanzania’s small farmers because, he said, it will help them get timely farm inputs through Farm to Market Alliance and link them to markets.
Farm to Market Alliance chief operations officer, Shanoo Saran, said they plan to use the Norwegian funds to reach 1,500,000 farmers in the next three years.
“We are here to help farmers engage in efficient farming and reach markets,” she said, adding that on the whole crops produced by small farmers do not meet market benchmarks.
Post-harvests losses are huge because peasants cannot reach markets, she said adding that their programme seeks to solve such challenges.