TANZANIA and Netherlands yesterday signed here an agreement for massive production of Irish potatoes, with the government praising Sagcot for making the enterprise possible.
The document was signed by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Mathew Mtigumwe and the Dutch Ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Jeroen Verheul. The signing ceremony was witnessed by the Deputy Minister in the President’s Office, Regional Administration and Local Governments (TAMISEMI), Josephat Kandege, Sagcot officials, RCs and DCs.
Mr Kandege thanked the Dutch government for bringing into Tanzania four companies experienced in potato production that will promote potato value chain and put Tanzania on the world potato map. But he quickly added that the important joint venture was made possible because of the efforts and determination of workers of the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (Sagcot).
Mr Kandege appealed to the Dutch government to spread this kind of production cooperation to other crops. Mr Verheul said Sagcot played a big role in making the agreement possible, adding that the cardinal aim in the cooperation is to increase potato production output and increase growers’ disposable income.
He said a potato centre of excellence and a demonstration farm will be built in Uyole, in the environs of Mbeya City. The Sagcot Chief Executive Officer, Mr Geoffrey Kirenga, welcomed the cooperation, explaining that the four companies will invest smoothly in the production of the crop and eliminate erstwhile disappointing challenges.
“The potato seed challenge has been overcome. We used to have three varieties; now we have eleven. A lot of potatoes remained in the soil during harvesting. Now we have tools to pull all potatoes from the soil. These are obvious indicators that production and productivity will go up,” Mr Kirenga explained.
He said growers and workers will be taught how to use the harvesting implements. Sagcot is a public-private partnership funded by the government and other partners who include UKaid, USAID, Norway and World Bank.