TANZANIA – The government of Tanzania has received US$115.91 million (Tsh265 billion) from the European Union to enhance productivity and competitiveness in the Agricultural sector.

According to the Citizen, the programme dubbed ‘agri- connect’ would focus on key agricultural sectors such as horticulture, coffee, tea as well as food production and nutrition security.

During the signing ceremony, the permanent secretary in the ministry of Finance and Planning, Mr Dotto James said the management and supervision roles of the programme will be delegated to the line ministries such as Agriculture, Natural Resources, Finance, President’s Office and Prime Minister’s Office.

The funding complements the government’s Agriculture Sector Development Programme Phase Two (ASDP II).

The programme aims to improve growth of smallholder incomes and ensure food security by 2025 while addressing critical constraints and challenges to sector performance and to speed up agriculture gross domestic product.

It will be implemented until 2023 for a total investment of US$6.03 billion, 38% financed by government while development partners would provide 57% and beneficiaries/farmers about 5%.

“As we all know Tanzania and the European Union’s cooperation is anchored on the continuous partnership agreement whose main objectives are to reduce poverty, promote sustainable development and support the integration of Tanzania into the world economy,” said James.

“The implementation of the project will be through a decentralised modality with the National Authorising Officers as the central authority.”

Agri- Connect would help to overcome key constraints in the agriculture sector that limit production, value addition, marketing and access to regional and export markets for horticulture, coffee and tea.

It also addresses challenges in the sector brought about by poor infrastructure and lack of proper training.

The main purpose is to bring reform in small-scale farming, livestock, and fishing sectors to increase productivity, to increase revenue for farmers, and increase food security.

The government will also strengthen the implementation of the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT), which in 2016 was awarded a US$65.61 million loan from the World Bank.