By Emmanuel Onyango
The government is determined to launch the second phase of the Agriculture Development Programme (ASDP ll) to address issues of post-harvest losses and value chain weaknesses facing the agricultural sector.
The Deputy Minister of Agriculture Mary Mwanjelwa said Wednesday in Dar es Salaam that, the program is expected to solve serious challenges that faces the sector.
She said agriculture in the country does not get a boost simply because of certain factors, which needs collaborative and joint concerted efforts remove existing disparities among stakeholders.
She said that currently the sector is experiencing post-harvest loss amount to a staggering 40 percent, which ironically hampers the economic and social developments of the people.
She said the government has realized the magnitude of the problem is increasing and expanding countrywide.
“This is the reason we have decided launch the second program of the ASDP to be done in collaboration with the private sector,” she said.
“The government has seen for some instances, all the grains are lost, contaminated by fungus, or spoiled by rain after harvest,” she said and insisted that, engagement of private sector will help solve the problem.
Under the programme, the government has put effective mechanisms to be worked out to remedy the incurring situation in some parts of the country where various agricultural projects is taking place, she said.
She noted that the program would involve capacity building to farmers after it had been realizing that they have been losing a lot grains due to poor harvest management, outdated post-harvest technology and being in possession of poor and unhygienic storage facilities.
Most agricultural projects in the country are in fact part of a larger financial contribution from European Union (EU) to the Southern Agriculture Growth Corridor Initiative for Tanzania (SAGCOT) amounting to 46 million Euros (About Tshs128billion)
The SAGCOT initiative is a public-private partnership dedicated to ensure food security, reduce poverty, and spur economic development in Tanzania’s Southern Corridor.
Despite the high potential for production in SAGCOIT region, the agriculture sector remains constrained by a number of factors, such as lack of inputs, insufficient irrigation, lack of affordable credits, fragmented market chains, inadequate storage facilities, and high transport costs caused by poor condition of the feeder roads.