Tan­za­nia set to be­come EA re­gion bread­bas­ket

The African - - NEWS - BY SHERMARX NGAHEMERA

Tan­za­nia stands to be a bread bas­ket of this re­gion if banks and fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions take se­ri­ously about farm­ing in the coun­try by ex­tend­ing the much needed fi­nances to stop gap of the ex­ist­ing lack of ad­e­quate com­mer­cial farm­ing.

The coun­try en­dowed with arable land of more than 45 mil­lion tares is us­ing 9 mil­lion hectares only to pro­duce crops that only 2 mil­lion hectares were needed if the farm­ing was right.

“What is needed is in­creas­ing the yield by prac­tic­ing mod­ern agri­cul­ture us­ing sci­en­tific and eco­nomic tech­nics that in­volve best prac­tices used lo­cally and abroad,” said Yara Tan­za­nia Lim­ited Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor Alexan­dre Macedo.

He said there is al­ways im­proved pro­duc­tiv­ity in in­crease of out­put when one puts some in­puts in agri­cul­ture es­pe­cially the over­all im­por­tant fer­til­iz­ers that have the po­ten­tial to in­crease the po­ten­tial in weight and in quan­tity of the crop.

He said his com­pany is in the van­guard to as­sist the farm­ers on the field through ap­pli­ca­tion of fer­til­iz­ers by loan­ing them and pro­vid­ing ex­ten­sion ser­vices on bet­ter use of fer­til­iz­ers and bet­ter farm­ing prac­tices.

Yara In­ter­na­tional ASA is a global Nor­we­gian Com­pany spe­cial­iz­ing in agri­cul­tural prod­ucts and en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion agents. Founded in 1905 to solve emerg­ing famine in Europe, to­day Yara has a world­wide pres­ence, with more than 12,000 em­ploy­ees and sales to more than 150 countries.

“In Africa, Yara has been sup­port­ing farm­ers for over 87 years and has em­ployed over 80 agron­o­mists to share knowl­edge with farm­ing com­mu­ni­ties in 10 countries across the con­ti­nent. Yara’s knowl­edge, prod­ucts and so­lu­tions grow farm­ers’ and in­dus­trial cus­tomers’ busi­nesses prof­itably and re­spon­si­bly, while nur­tur­ing and pro­tect­ing the earth’s re­sources, food and en­vi­ron­ment,” noted Macedo in a meet­ing with se­lected me­dia edi­tors at their ware­houses at Kurasini.

Macedo says Yara Tan­za­nia is com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing the gov­ern­ment through the Big Re­sults Now ini­tia­tive into trans­form­ing small­hold­ers to com­mer­cial farm­ing. With 24 agron­o­mists on the ground, and 58 part­ner­ships with dif­fer­ent in­sti­tu­tions, Yara con­ducts over 10,000 demon­stra­tions in all crops, and con­ducts more than 15,000 farmer train­ings and field days an­nu­ally, with the aim of in­creas­ing crop yields, qual­ity and farmer in­come, thus en­sur­ing sus­tain­able busi­ness. Thou­sands of farm­ers from around the coun­try have ben­e­fited from train­ings and ed­u­ca­tional events con­ducted by Yara.

He ob­served that Yara is an in­ter­na­tional com­pany, with pro­duc­tion, sales and ser­vices, re­search and sup­port op­er­a­tions in Amer­ica, Europe, Africa and Asia. In Africa, Yara has been present and op­er­a­tional for more than 30 years. Our of­fices and op­er­a­tions are in Abid­jan – Cote d’Ivoire, Ac­craGhana, Doula-Cameroon, Nairo­biKenya, Dar es Salaam-Tan­za­nia, Paarl-South Africa, Lusaka-Zam­bia, Malawi, Ethiopia and Mozam­bique and our Busi­ness Unit HQ is sit­u­ated in Jo­han­nes­burg, South Africa.

Yara prod­ucts

Yara fer­til­iz­ers, crop nutrition pro­grams and tech­nolo­gies in­crease yields, im­prove prod­uct qual­ity and re­duce the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact of agri­cul­tural prac­tices. Our in­dus­trial and en­vi­ron­men­tal so­lu­tions im­prove air qual­ity by re­duc­ing emis­sions from in­dus­try and trans­porta­tion, and serve as key in­gre­di­ents in the pro­duc­tion of a wide range of goods. They foster a cul­ture that pro­motes the safety of em­ploy­ees, con­trac­tor and so­ci­eties.

Yara In­ter­na­tional ASA in con­junc­tion and work­ing closely with the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture, Live­stock and Fish­eries through the Tan­za­nia Fer­til­izer Reg­u­la­tory Au­thor­ity (TFRA) in a move to en­sure avail­abil­ity of qual­ity fer­til­izer whilst also con­tribut­ing to higher crop yields.

Macedo noted that Yara agron­o­mists and ap­pointed dis­trib­u­tors keep vigil to en­sure dis­tri­bu­tion of le­git­i­mate Yara prod­ucts against the coun­ter­feits that de­stroy farm­ers’ in­vest­ment cap­i­tal,

“Through us­ing an en­hanced and unique stitch­ing on all Yara fer­til­izer bags we have re­duced the fake prod­ucts to in­fil­trate our dis­tri­bu­tion net­work. We also con­stantly train the farm­ing com­mu­nity to pro­vide them with ca­pac­ity to se­lect and choose high qual­ity fer­til­iz­ers.”

He un­der­scored the im­por­tance of the fer­til­izer stor­age fa­cil­ity in s Tan­za­nia by pro­vid­ing his­tory of the fa­cil­ity that stands to im­pact food se­cu­rity of the na­tion.

“In Septem­ber last year, Yara launched a USD 30 mil­lion fetilizer ter­mi­nal in Dar es Salaam to store, bag in ac­cli­ma­tized in­stal­la­tions and dis­trib­ute qual­ity fer­til­izer through its In Mar­kets Stor­ages (ware­houses) at the con­sump­tion zones to farm­ers not only in Tan­za­nia, but the larger East­ern African re­gion in­clud­ing Rwanda and Bu­rundi. The Pub­lic Pri­vate Part­ner­ship ven­ture was part of the South­ern Agri­cul­tural Growth Cor­ri­dor of Tan­za­nia (SAGCOT), which aims to trans­form sub­sis­tence small­holder agri­cul­ture into a sus­tain­able com­mer­cial farm­ing sec­tor, serv­ing lo­cal, re­gional and in­ter­na­tional mar­kets. The in­vest­ment was a demon­stra­tion of Yara’s long-term com­mit­ment to the de­vel­op­ment of Tan­za­nia’s agri­cul­tural sec­tor, “re­flected the Brazil­ian man­ager.

Macedo took time to ex­plain the com­pany phi­los­o­phy of team­work and build­ing al­liances in solv­ing prob­lems and at­tend­ing to im­por­tant mat­ters.

Macedo said; Yara be­lieves in build­ing al­liances and part­ner­ships for Africa’s de­vel­op­ment. It works in part­ner­ship with hun­dreds of lo­cal farm­ers’ or­ga­ni­za­tions, com­mu­nity groups, non-gov­ern­ment or­ga­ni­za­tions, and donor agen­cies to de­liver crop nutrition so­lu­tions and im­prove farmer liveli­hoods. As Yara we have gone from be­ing in­volved in a few of part­ner­ships in Tan­za­nia, a cou­ple of years ago, to ac­tively en­gaged in over 50, in­clud­ing sev­eral such as with SAGCOT, WFP, BRAC, CALI, Gatsby, Sokoine Univer­sity and the Last Mile Al­liance amongst oth­ers that all have the po­ten­tial to go to real scale.

SAGCOT project

To­gether with the Gov­ern­ment of Tan­za­nia and oth­ers, Yara is a key part­ner in the de­vel­op­ment of the South­ern Agri­cul­tural Growth Cor­ri­dor of Tan­za­nia (SAGCOT). The Agri­cul­tural Growth con­cept is an in­no­va­tive way to fi­nance re­gional de­vel­op­ment and lift peo­ple out of poverty. The con­cept has a Pub­lic-Pri­vate part­ner­ship ap­proach, and takes the en­tire value chain into per­spec­tive aim­ing to im­prove ef­fi­ciency through tar­geted in­vest­ment. Ar­eas be­ing cov­ered in­clude the South­ern High­lands regions of Mbeya, Iringa, Sum­bawanga and Katavi. Oth­ers are Moro­goro, Lindi and Mt­wara regions.

Does Yara have a his­tory of work­ing in part­ner­ship with African gov­ern­ments?

Yara is proud of its pre­em­i­nence and global pres­ence.

“We are the only global min­eral fer­til­izer com­pany with a di­rect pres­ence across the con­ti­nent. Con­tin­u­ously de­vel­oped and ex­panded through sales of­fices and pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties, this pres­ence also gives us a deep-rooted ex­pe­ri­ence of African agri­cul­ture and thor­ough knowl­edge of the con­ti­nent’s chal­lenges and op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Yara has his­tor­i­cally taken on a role as a cat­a­lyst in pro­mot­ing pub­licpri­vate part­ner­ships (PPP), in or­der to rally sup­port for much needed in­vest­ments. Par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion has been given to small­hold­ers – the great ma­jor­ity of the con­ti­nent’s farm­ers – en­cour­ag­ing lo­cal en­trepreneur­ship and market de­vel­op­ment to make farm­ing a vi­able busi­ness. Com­ment­ing on this ba­sic re­al­ity he said 70 per­cent of the clien­tele are small holder farm­ers while com­mer­cial farm­ers are 11 per­cent in vol­umes of sales.

Yara finds it im­per­a­tive to as­sist the small holder farm­ers as ma­jor stake­hold­ers and have the po­ten­tial of growth with time. For more than three years it has used its own funds to pro­vide credit fa­cil­ity to farm­ers and then re­deem it dur­ing crop sales sea­son.

With time pas­sage Yara has rec­og­nized an im­por­tant role for the gov­ern­ment of sup­port­ing the pol­icy en­vi­ron­ment.

“Small­hold­ers and in­vestors in their own right will be a key fo­cus in the en­deav­our to scale up ef­fi­cient pro­duc­tion in Tan­za­nia, and like­wise the role of farm­ers as­so­ci­a­tions in bring­ing about the nec­es­sary ag­gre­ga­tion. What we want to achieve is to have the African small­hold­ers and emerg­ing agri­cul­tural SMEs to be­come suc­cess­ful en­trepreneurs and for agri­cul­ture to be the en­gine of sus­tain­able growth in Tan­za­nia and the re­gion,” un­der­scored Macedo.

As a profit-driven com­pany Yara has cred­i­bil­ity when it comes to de­vel­op­ment and ac­cord­ing the rel­e­vant cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity (CSR) to com­mu­ni­ties work­ing or col­lab­o­rat­ing with in in­ter­ac­tion.

“Yara was the first pri­vate sec­tor com­pany to heed the call from then Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral of the UN Kofi An­nan at a high-level meet­ing in Ad­dis Ababa in 2004, when he urged par­tic­i­pa­tion from all sec­tors to sup­port the de­vel­op­ment of African agri­cul­ture.

As one of few pri­vate com­pa­nies in the UN Hunger Task Force, Yara gained insight into the com­plex is­sues re­lated to hunger, poverty and de­vel­op­ment of African agri­cul­ture and economies. We also par­tic­i­pated at the Africa Fer­til­izer Sum­mit in Abuja in 2006, which agreed on a strat­egy to ac­cel­er­ate poor farm­ers’ ac­cess to agri­cul­tural in­puts.”

Yara is ac­tively pro­mot­ing agri­cul­ture through knowl­edge trans­fer by train­ing it’s of­fi­cially ap­pointed dis­trib­u­tors, stake­hold­ers and farm­ers.

Yara pro­vides crop nutrition so­lu­tions for mil­lions of farm­ers across Africa to in­crease crop yield and qual­ity – and ul­ti­mately farmer’s prof­its – while main­tain­ing soil qual­ity and en­vi­ron­men­tal val­ues. With our global reach and scale, Yara com­bines world’s best agro­nomic prac­tices and re­sources with lo­cal knowl­edge.

Yara has iden­ti­fied im­proved agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tiv­ity as the key in­ter­ven­tion to in­crease food pro­duc­tion in a time of cli­mate change. It of­fers a con­cept of knowl­edge-based ap­pli­ca­tion of min­eral fer­til­iz­ers to sup­port ef­fi­ciency.

“Yara has de­vel­oped fer­til­izer and fo­liar mi­cronu­tri­ent crop pro­grammes to sup­ply com­plete bal­anced crop nutrition for a wide range of arable, hor­ti­cul­tural, grass­land, fruit and for­age crops, and also of­fers ca­pac­ity build­ing pro­grams to farm­ers, ” said Yara Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor.

Fer­til­iz­ers world­wide con­trib­ute to cli­mate change and Yara is proac­tive in re­duc­ing the neg­a­tive im­pacts in its own ways.

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