Business

Tanzania agro-expert tips Zambia

TRYNESS MBALE, Lusaka
TANZANIAN Official Seed Certification Institution (TOSCI) has called Zambia to continue supporting small-scale farmers through the provision of quality seed to assist them grow to significantly contribute to the country’s food security.
TOSCI agriculture director general Hamis Mtwaenzi said Zambia and Tanzania face similar challenges in the agriculture sector as they are both dominated by smallholder farmers who need support to grow in terms of inputs.
Dr Mtwaenzi, who was in the country recently said in an interview that Zambia’s agriculture sector is impressive, but has similar problems of small-scale farmers needing subsides.
“For example, Tanzania is a big country with a population of almost 45 million, [and] about 75 percent of citizens live in rural areas. Agriculture plays an important role in terms of food security, especially that the majority are small-scale farmers who need to be served with the right seed to boost their production for them to adequately contribute to the country’s food basket,” he said.
Tanzania also runs a scheme under which farmer inputs are subsidised like the way Zambia does it through the farmer input support programme.
Dr Mtwaenzi said farmers’ productivity is likely to be negatively affected without access to quality seed in the event of climate change.
“Zambia should also come up with more seed varieties that will suit the changing weather pattern and soils. If there are no varieties that suit the changing situations, there will be very low crop yields,” he said.
Dr Mtwaenzi was impressed Zambia’s agriculture sector for being on the right track in growing the sector, saying some of the strategies used here can be adopted in Tanzania.
Meanwhile, Dr Mtwaenzi called on Zambian seed companies intending to penetrate the Tanzanian market to adhere to the rules to avoid unnecessary obstacles.
Seedco recently opened an office in Tanzania to utilise agricultural business opportunities in that country.



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