As Tanzania pushes to become a prominent soya producer in East and Southern African region, the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (Sagcot) urged stakeholders to support the now functional soya value chain so that growers can be viable and stable commercial farmers.
Sagcot is the agency tasked with promoting the crop.
The head of Sagcot Clusters Development Department, Ms Maria Ijumba, told a meeting of farmers, public and private decision makers here that delays in the uptake of soya production must become a thing of the past because the government was committed to promoting agro-industrialisation as well as liberating farmers from poverty.
Delays in the uptake of soya production have been intermittently surfacing because farmers are sometimes reluctant to grow the crop due to lack of seed and market linkages.
Sagcot Soya Partnership was established to eliminate the snags. The partnership brings together stakeholders such as the Clinton Development initiative, Silverlands, SeedCo and TOSCI, that work hard to end the delays in the uptake of soya production.
Ms Ijumba reminded delegates that soya is one of the crops earmarked for development in the 2030 Sagcot Vision with the aim of increasing crop output and turning growers into commercial producers.
She posed this question to delegates to ponder over: “How are we going to achieve this vision; to eliminate poverty by creating jobs and make soya a commercial produce?”
She called for regular review meetings in order to eliminate challenges along the way. Past snags were blamed on limited availability of soya seed for the industry. The partnership was establish to identify seed suppliers and distribution in the crop growing region.
There was also need for smallholders to access affordable financing. Ms Ijumba told the meeting: “We do not want to grapple in the dark. We want our growers to know the market; I mean the buyer, the price, at which competitive quality is sold and when that happens.”
The Mbarali Cluster Manager, Ms Tullah Mloge called on delegates to speak their mind in order promote soya production. The representative of Seed Co, Njombe branch, Ms Flora Mugangala, called on each partner to play fully his part. “It is as if we are building a house. We shall succeed if each of us will play his part,” she quipped.
A grower from Namtumbo in Ruvuma Region, Ms Mwamvita Ngonyani, praised the meeting as a forum for getting feedback from experts and decision makers on problems farmers face in the field.