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Increasing Tanzania’s capacity to feed Africa by 2030

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Increasing Tanzania’s capacity to feed Africa by 2030

By 2030, partners of the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) aim to cultivate 350,000 hectares of land for profitable production. Agriculture in Tanzania currently contributes to nearly 30 % of the GDP and employs over three-quarters of the country’s workforce.

Analysis of the agricultural market in Tanzania

The size of the agriculture market in Tanzania is estimated to be 17.44 billion USD in 2024. It is expected to reach 22.93 billion USD by 2029, with a growth rate of 5.63 % during the forecast period (2024-2029).

  • Agriculture is the backbone of the country’s economy. Thus, structural measures are being taken to boost the country’s agricultural production with the support of public-private partnerships.
  • Private-sector investments in the agricultural sector, research activities conducted in collaboration with local institutions, and policy initiatives contribute to developing the Tanzanian agrarian market in the future.
  • Tanzania is one of Africa’s largest producers of cashew nuts, with its exports providing 10.0 to 15.0 % of the country’s foreign exchange.

SAGCOT : Effective agricultural organization

The Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) has achieved significant success over the past decade since its establishment in 2010. Tasked with promoting inclusive, sustainable, and viable agricultural value chains in southern Tanzania, the organization has notably enhanced agricultural productivity. These actions above all make it possible to anticipate reductions in production of essential foodstuffs such as the shortage of sugar in Tanzania which caused a surge in prices.

SAGCOT establishes production hubs in the south and Morogoro, including Ihemi, Mbarali, and Kilombero. Through these agricultural clusters, SAGCOT succeeds in increasing food production, developing value chains, and boosting farmers’ household incomes.

« I am truly impressed by the work of SAGCOT Center Limited and its partners. I deeply feel that our responsibility is to intensify and scale up this success. I have become aware not only of your achievements and the additional potential inherent in the SAGCOT approach but also of the challenges Tanzania faces in preparing to succeed in agro-industry as a central element of industrialization, » says Bella Bird, Country Director for the World Bank Group for Tanzania, in her review of SAGCOT’s performance.

Food security objective for SAGCOT

Similar perspectives are echoed by the Tanzanian Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries, Dr. Charles Tizeba: « As the minister responsible for Agriculture, I am pleased and commend what SAGCOT is doing in the Southern Highlands Agricultural Corridor. SAGCOT’s plans align with the ministry’s objectives for food security ». The SAGCOT method plays a crucial role in implementing ASDP II.

Despite these achievements, stakeholders feel that Tanzania still needs to realize its full potential in agricultural production. Tanzania has 44 million hectares of arable land. Still, less than 30 % of this potential arable land is utilized, notes Dr. Ferdinand Bayaka, a dairy producer from the commercial port city of Dar es Salaam.

Smallholder farmers dominate Tanzanian agriculture

According to the organization, smallholder farmers, who rely on rainfall for irrigation, dominate agriculture in Tanzania. Modernizing the industry to increase yields, exports, and value-added processing poses significant challenges to farmers and other sector stakeholders.

The organization reports that « slowing export incomes, barriers to land acquisition, and small farmers’ difficulties in accessing economically viable technology, adequate storage facilities, markets, and credit have affected the sector. »

Furthermore, the government is seeking foreign financing for its flagship project, the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT), designed to rapidly develop this region’s agricultural potential. These large-scale efforts are expected to enable production levels of critical crops to rebound in the coming years, thereby contributing to boosting a value-added transformation in the sector.

By 2030, SAGCOT partners aim to :

  • Put 350,000 hectares of land into profitable production
  • Transition 100,000 smallholder farmers to commercial agriculture
  • Create 420,000 new jobs
  • Lift 20 million people out of poverty
  • Generate 1.2 billion USD in annual agricultural income
  • Tanzanian Government Supports Agricultural Momentum

Tanzanian government supports agricultural momentum

Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan calls on the government to commit to commercializing agriculture as a driver of the country’s industrialization. « Let’s work hard to feed Africa by 2030 », the President recently declared in Parliament while commenting on SAGCOT’s performance.

The President also called for popularizing the SAGCOT model « in all districts of Tanzania to achieve our vision of feeding Africa by 2030 ». Agricultural stakeholders hope that the SAGCOT model will be adopted nationwide. The President also launched a national agricultural development initiative for youth titled « Building a Better Future ». She now wishes program implementation officials to collaborate with the SAGCOT Center to draw lessons from its experience with smallholder farmers.

Unlocking Tanzania’s agricultural productivity potential

Dr. Bayaka laments that Tanzania’s agricultural productivity needs to catch up to its potential. The farmer urges policymakers to learn from SAGCOT’s experiences.

The U.S. International Trade Administration notes: « Agriculture is undoubtedly the largest and most significant sector of the Tanzanian economy, benefiting from a diversified production base that includes livestock, staple food crops, and various cash crops ».

While numerous commercial opportunities exist in domestic, regional, and international markets for traditional products, productivity has seen modest gains over the past two decades.

Increased harvests

« Previously, we cultivated Irish potatoes without paying attention to minor but important aspects. We could have used better tools. Our yields were low. Today, we harvest nearly three times the amount we used to harvest before », shares a farmer from one of the Iringa clusters with the media.

SAGCOT is poised to work with every district in Tanzania on this proposal, as its role is to assist partners in establishing inclusive, sustainable, and commercial agricultural value chains, especially in the southern corridor.

Commenting on SAGCOT’s achievements, His Excellency Einar Jensen, the Ambassador of Denmark to Tanzania, expresses his impression of the progress made so far: « What a successful journey it has been. I am very impressed by the closeness between the government and the private sector, from the regional to the community level. Well done, SAGCOT ».

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