Brazil has dug out a generous donation of farm implements, valued at 700 million/- to the Ukiguru Center for the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute, in Mwanza in support of an ambitious cotton production project.
The donation consists of mostly agricultural machinery including tractors, ploughs, planters, sprayers, harvesters, and ginning equipment were presented to TARI by the Brazilian Ambassador to Tanzania, Gustavo Martins Nogueira
The assistance is targeted for the implementation of the Cotton Victoria Project (CVP) in the Lake Zone Regions of Tanzania and the neighbouring countries striding Africa’s largest water body.
Cotton Victoria Project is a multinational agricultural project being executed between Brazil and three East African countries.
Kenya, Tanzania and Burundi together with Brazil are bridging up efforts in the implementation of the vital initiative in several regions around Lake Victoria, including Mwanza region.
Several institutions, including the Tanzanian Ministry of Agriculture, the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC), the Brazilian Cotton Institute (IBA), the Federal University of Lavras (UFLA), the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI-Ukiriguru) and the Tanzania Cotton Board (TCB) are involved in the CVP.
The Brazil envoy to Tanzania, Ambassador Gustavo Martins Nogueira, said the donation was specifically intended for local cotton growers in the country.
“The cotton project is going to benefit more than 8,500 smallholders’ farmers involved in the cotton growing type of agriculture in Misungwi, Kwimba, and Magu Districts of Mwanza region,” Ambassador Nogueira stated.
According to the Brazilian envoy to Tanzania, the project has been providing training, technical assistance and demonstration plots to thousands of cotton farmers since its inception in the 2016-2017 cotton growing season.
Through the initiative a total of nine large water reservoirs have been built to ensure constant and reliable supplies ensuring all-time water access for household use and gardening.
“These donated equipment is meant to mechanize some of the labour-intensive tasks in cotton production, such as land preparation, planting, weeding, spraying, and harvesting,” the envoy maintained.
The Director General of Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute, Dr Geofrey Mkamilo, received the donation on behalf of the agriculture minister Hussein Bashe, and thanked the Government of Brazil partners for their timely support.
Dr Mkamilo revealed that the Cotton Victoria Project (CVP) and the Beyond Cotton Project (BCP) being implemented at the cost of USD 5.8 Million are both being bankrolled by Brazil and have so far played a great role to heighten the performance of the sector in the country.
On his part, the Director of TARI Ukiriguru Centre Dr Paul Saidia, said other than empowering farmers with skills through training, the project has also been transforming the agricultural sector from manual to automated operations through adopting the use of modern machinery.
As one of the country’s bedrock cash crop cotton is grown on 1,000,000 acres of land mapped within 17 regions and 56 districts of Tanzania with the sector employing more than 500,000 farmers.
Tanzania produces between 125,000 and 370,000 tons of cotton per year.