Dar es Salaam. An inclusive agricultural development approach that is currently practised in Njombe has won the government’s praises, with the deputy minister for Agriculture, Mr Innocent Bashungwa, terming it as the best for bringing about agricultural revolution.
The approach being touted is being conducted by Njombe Outgrowers Service Company (NOSC), the brainchild of partners for Southern Agriculture Growth Corridor of Tanzania (Sagcot).
The NOSC provides tea planting services, capital, agronomic advice and production logistics – such as collection, weighing, transport, payment – to smallholder farmers on a commercial, cost recovery basis, thus helping smallholders to start growing at estate levels.
Speaking during a visit to Sagcot offices in Dar es Salaam at the weekend, Mr Bashungwa commended the initiative and a number of other programmes that were being implemented by Sagcot.
He said Sagcot approaches and strategies provided the best ways of implementing the Agriculture Sector Development Programme Phase Two (ASDP II).
“Tea farmers in Njombe Region have benefited from the extension services they received from NOSC, which partners Sagcot. This shows the extent to which Sagcot is bringing about agricultural revolution,” he said.
He urged NOSC to extend their services to other regions with favourite climate for tea production, adding that suitable land for the cash crop cultivation is available in many areas.
He commenced Sagcot for reaching out to farmers and having revolutionized agriculture by increasing efficiency in production.
“My visit comes following various witnesses and testimonies from farmers on your support in Njombe and Iringa regions, which have made me eager to visit and learn how you operate…Productivity has increased in the areas where Sagcot is working with farmers, leading to improved standards of living among farmers,” he said.
The Sagcot Centre Chief Executive Officer, Mr Geoffrey Kirenga thanked the minister, saying that his visit was a blessing as he learned various matters concerning the institution’s activities while issuing various directives.
So far, Sagcot has three operational clusters of Ihemi which covers Iringa and Njombe region; Mbarali Cluster which covers Mbeya and Njombe regions and Kilombero Cluster which covers the entire Morogoro Region.