The Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) Tanzania with support from the European Union (EU) on Thursday launched a Tsh 4.1bn rice project in Morogoro Region, Tanzania.
Working with the Rice Council of Tanzania (RCT), the four-year project is dubbed ‘Enhancing Competitiveness of Smallholder Rice Farmers in Morogoro’ and aims to strengthen the capacity of smallholder farmers and value chain actors in the rice sector.
The EU has funded the project in support of the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT)’s goal of fostering inclusive, commercially successful agribusiness.
“The project will contribute to shifting from small-scale subsistence farming towards small-scale ‘commercial’ farming, by targeting the existing challenges and gaps within the value chain, particularly limited knowledge among farmers on post-harvest practices, and their minimal control over the process after harvest,” said
“Smallholder farmers will be enabled to produce a product that is of good quality and in sufficient volume at a lower cost of production,” he added.
The project facilitates collective marketing through farmers groups’ to ensure that trading is fair. It further adds entities to work with millers and buyers to improve milling, grading, packaging, branding and marketing of rice.
The initiative will also work on raising awareness on standards and policies as well as promote learning and policy improvement in the rice value chain.
Key Project Aspects
- Shift from subsistence farming towards small-scale ‘commercial’ farming
- Increase farmers’ knowledge on post-harvest practices
- Improve rice quality and quantity
- Lower production cost
- Facilitate collective marketing
- Promote fair trade
- Syndicate millers and bulk buyers
- Improve milling, grading, packaging and branding
Speaking during the project launch, the Regional Commissioner of Morogoro, Dr Steven Kebwe said “the focus of the project is to improve the rice value chain especially the quality of the product that is being produced in this region, improving its competitiveness in the market and addressing the post-harvest losses and challenges that have been contributing to the low yields and low quality rice so as to improve the rice sector in Morogoro region.’
The Project Launch was held at the Kilombero Council Hall in Ifakara and brought together key stakeholders in the rice sector from the districts of Malini, Ulanga and Kilombero including farmers, millers, traders and service providers.
Financial sector representatives included banks and agro-input suppliers. The event was chaired by the Regional Commissioner of Morogoro, Honorable Steven Kebwe and attended by senior leadership of Morogro region and the target districts.