Paving ways to a robust and vibrant potato seed sector in Tanzania

Tanzania and the Netherlands have agreed to collaborate on developing a joint roadmap for the thriving potato seed ecosystem. The decision was made during a workshop attended by public and private stakeholders interested in horticulture and the potato sector.

The Minister of Agriculture of Tanzania and the Netherlands ambassador emphasized the importance of collaboration between the public and private sectors to promote a sustainable potato industry in Tanzania. The partnership has already resulted in the registration of 12 Dutch certified potato seed varieties in Tanzania, which have the potential to increase productivity.

Efforts are being made to address the availability of certified seeds, enhance farmers' productivity, and tackle postharvest losses in the horticulture sector. The government is working on creating an enabling environment for the private sector and has initiated discussions on crop-specific HS codes and long-term land lease agreements. The Minister launched a new avocado guideline to support the avocado sector's development, and both parties expressed their commitment to finding sustainable solutions together.

Positioning Tanzania as a potato hub image 1

Tanzania and the Netherlands have agreed to work together to establish a joint roadmap for the development of a thriving and strong potato seed ecosystem. This deliberation was made during the workshop with horticulture stakeholders in Dodoma.

The workshop was attended by public and private institutions and organizations interested in the horticulture and the potato sector. During the event organized by the Embassy of the Netherlands, Ministry of Agriculture and the Tanzania Horticulture Association,  The Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Hussein Bashe, the Netherlands ambassador to Tanzania, H.E Wiebe de Boer together with the agricultural counsellor, Mr. Bart Pauwels have emphasized the importance of collaboration between the public and private sectors in promoting a sustainable potato industry,  geared to positioning Tanzania as the potato hub.

The Minister and the ambassador acknowledged the longstanding partnership between Tanzania and the Netherlands, which has already resulted in the 12 registration of Dutch certified potato seeds varieties in Tanzania. These varieties have potential to increase productivity in potato farming and offer wide range of choices to farmers. During his visit to the Southern highlands, the minister met with farmers who were delighted with their harvests. These farmers were able to yield up to 206 sacks of 50kg of potatoes per acre. They attributed their success to the use of high-quality certified potato seeds and the adoption of best agronomic practices.

Tanzania Horticulture and potato subsectors facts

Considering the country's population growth rate, there will be a need to feed more people in the coming years without an increase in available land. This necessitates innovative and efficient approaches to enhance farmers' productivity. Isowelu Amcos is a prominent cooperative engaged in potato farming as a business. By utilizing certified potato seeds, their average yield per acre has increased from 8 tons to 25 tons. However, last year, Isowelu Amcos alone demanded 1000 tons of certified seed potatoes but could only obtain about 300 tons. Addressing the issue of certified seeds is crucial to harness the country's potential for welcoming more cooperatives like Isowelu Amcos and expanding the potato sector.

The horticulture sector is experiencing rapid growth in Tanzania. As per the 2022 phytosanitary records, the country exported 30,000 metric tons of horticultural produce. However, there is a significant concern regarding a 40% postharvest loss of food when it reaches the Dar es Salaam market. To tackle this issue, collaboration with the private sector is essential in finding local solutions to improve coordination, minimize losses and avail quality certified seeds timely to farmers.

“It is the commitment of the government to involve private sector in the seed multiplication because the government alone cannot do it. We have tried since 1960’s. We cannot continue facing the same problems and use the same techniques to solve since the independence’’ - Tanzania Minister of Agriculture Hon. Hussein Bashe

About the workshop

The Netherlands Embassy in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Tanzania Horticultural Sector Association (TAHA) organized a workshop on 4 May 2023 on the sustainable development of the horticulture sector in Tanzania. The workshop brought together public and private institutions to dialogue unlocking challenges that hinders sector development. In this workshop, the minister of agriculture, Hon. Hussein Bashe gave government prospective in the areas of supporting horticulture putting emphasis on avocados, potatoes, and coordination.

Ongoing initiatives in enabling environment

To unleash the country potential, the government cannot work alone. Deliberate efforts are underway in facilitation of enabling environment for the private sector to work. The Tanzania Ministry of Agriculture is working close with the Tanzania Revenue Authority  (TRA) to develop crop specific HS codes, which was not in place before. Categorizing crops by names will not only increase efficiency but also reduce post-harvest issues as perishable goods identifications. The Ministry is also set to have discussions with the private sector and secure a long-term land lease agreement for the seed multiplications purposes. Furthermore, the Minister encouraged private sector to come with a solid plan of action for a bilateral discussion.

Remarkably on this day, the Minister launched a new avocado guideline and distributed to extension services as a working tool in supporting the avocado sector development. The Tanzania Horticulture Association worked together with the Ministry of Agriculture in the preparations of the guideline.

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The Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Hussein Bashe launching avocado guidelines prepared by the Ministry of agriculture in collaboration with the Tanzania Horticulture Sector

What next?

In the fight against unemployment, food security and business creation through exports, there is no time to waste. The Minister assured stakeholders on the Ministry commitment to work together with the sector in finding sustainable solutions together. The Ambassador of the Netherlands thanked the Minister for a sharp vision on agriculture in the coming years and assured continue the good relations with the Netherlands in the coming years.

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