Tanzania: Dutch agricultural funding boost public and private sector

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A project aimed at creating an environment conducive to horticultural investment in  the country and financed by the Dutch government since 2007, has assisted to bridge the gap between private and public sectors.

The five-year World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) project has assisted to develop the capacity of key horticultural related agencies and departments under several ministries and lead to improved performance, said Jacqueline Mkindi, Executive Director of the Tanzania Horticultural Association (TAHA).

“Under this programme, TAHA has donated equipment to Plant Health Services at the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, thanks to Dutch government funding,” Ms Mkindi said.

The Dutch government provided a grant of 750,000 Euro to finance the project. The Arusha based horticultural firms association handed over equipment for inspectorate services in order to improve sanitary and phyto-sanitary inspection services.

Lack of equipment has been identified as one of the major bottlenecks facing inspection activities of horticultural produce at different entry and exit points.

“We would like to thank the government of the Kingdom of Netherlands for the support which has definitely made our work much easier as horticultural producers mainly focusing on exports,” she noted.

Ms Mkindi said one of the biggest success stories is the strong link developed between the private and public sectors as they constantly interacted in the course of executing the five different projects with working groups consisting members from both side in a model public private partnership.

“Through this kind of arrangement, we were able to learn from each other a lot, understand how our systems operate and also we have been able to create our own champions in the different agencies and ministries,” she noted.

In comparison to neighbouring countries Tanzania’s horticultural industry has been growing very slowly. Kenya and Ethiopia, notably, have been growing relatively apidly over the last few years.

Other achievements of the project include: registration of around 365 quality pesticides for use in horticulture, the development of the industry driven national training curriculum, promotion and branding of the industry and the image of TAHA as an institution while the industry has managed to introduce biological control agents.

“TAHA has been able to create a pool of experts in various fields, who are now working with the Association not only on the WSSD projects but in other areas as needs arise. This has provided a capacity building window for the Association staff as they interact with quality experts both local and international,” a statement from the association said.

Among the challenges faced is delay in incorporating the long-term recommendations due to prolonged policy review processes by government institutions.

Despite the odds, the horticulture sector has registered increased earnings from 1.4 million US dollars to 140 million US dollars  between 2002 and 2008.

Source: Fresh Plaza

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