Speaking during the launch, which also marked the start of AGRA’s new five-year business plan, AGRA’s president, Dr Anges Kalibata, pointed out that this partnership was a great opportunity for AGRA to scale up its work in Tanzania, a country that has tremendous potential as a bread basket.
“For the last nine years, AGRA has worked extensively in Tanzania. We have cultivated a broad alliance of public and private sector partners who are all working to unlock the potential of Tanzania’s smallholder farmers and help them move beyond subsistence to earn an income from their hard work,” said Dr Kalibata.
The initiative, which is supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has an overall goal of increasing incomes and food security of at least 30,000 farming households in Mbeya region by the year 2020.
This programme will focus on strengthening at least six crop value chains to operate more efficiently while increasing access to inputs and knowledge of agronomic practices among smallholder farmers.
The programme also aims at improving access to markets. In July 2015, The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs awarded a grant of NOK 9,000,000 (US$ 1.2M) to AGRA. This was to fund a one-year inception phase of the IGGSAS Programme in the SAGCOT with YARA.
During this period, AGRA has put in place the systems and structures (human capital and resources) and piloted a public-private-partnership (PPP) model as anticipated in the grant.
AGRA has also conducted the necessary environmental and ecological assessments, and developed a result tracking and impact measurement system. Following this success, the event today marked the launch of a second four year implementation and upscaling phase starting July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2020.
Over the past nine years, AGRA has given 95 grants from different donors worth 49 million dollars cumulatively in Tanzania.
“The Norwegian Government is pleased to support this innovative public-private-partnership. Broad and inclusive growth in Tanzania must include the agricultural sector, and AGRA’s pro-poor and climate smart approach.
“We also focus on linking smallscale farmer to off-takers and markets for inclusive and sustainable development,” said Ms Tone Skogen, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Norway.
In his statement delivered by the Permanent Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Dr Frolence Turuka, The Minister for Agriculture, Mr Mwigulu Nchemba said that AGRA has made Tanzania a priority country for the last nine years. “As a country we are grateful for that.
AGRA has supported improved crop varieties and seed companies among many other projects. We are proud of AGRA’s achievements in supporting agriculture. We thank the government of Norway for supporting the new project.
We will play our part as the government to make it a success.” Also present during the launch was Ms Tone Skogen, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway.
The gathering also included representatives from the Mbeya Regional leadership and administration led by Regional Commissioner Abbas Kandoro.
Others were representatives of AGRA’s key strategic partners: YARA; Development Partners Working Group on Agriculture, SAGCOT Centre and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).