Stakeholders in Tanzania plan cassava transformation to support agriculture-led socioeconomic development
The Cassava Compact of the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) led by IITA and funded by the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) has initiated activities in Tanzania, with a three-day national stakeholders’ workshop.
The meeting was convened on 16–18 October by IITA in partnership with the Tanzania Agriculture Research Institute (TARI) and the Agricultural Sector Development Program (ASDP II) and brought together policymakers, researchers, the private sector, and farmers in the country’s capital, Dodoma, to develop a high-impact plan for transforming cassava in the country and contribute to its agriculture-led industrialization agenda. The meeting was facilitated by the Tanzanian Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Agriculture Ministry Prof Siza Tumbo who welcomed the initiative. He noted that while cassava was the second most important subsistence food crop after maize in Tanzania, with 84% of the total production going into food consumption, its production levels were very low.
The TAAT Cassava Compact seeks to achieve rapid cassava intensification through raising farm-level productivity, improving the efficiency of processing, and increasing market opportunity for the actors. It is part of continent-wide TAAT initiative under the AfDB’s agricultural transformation agenda, Feed Africa.
During the meeting, presentations were made by the various actors along the cassava value chain including ongoing research initiatives to develop improved high-yielding varieties and tackling pests and diseases, processing and value addition, establishment of clean seed systems, and weed management.
The participants also mapped the ongoing cassava activities across the country and identified areas with the largest concentration of activities and actors along the cassava value chain leading to the formation of four ‘agripoles’ in the Coast region, Eastern region, Western region for Kigoma, and one on cassava seed systems.
The agripoles bring together all the actors along the cassava value chain and help to identify gaps and how to address them. Also they ensure that all actors along the value chain benefit equitably.
TAAT will also introduce technologies to process cassava into food products, starch, and flour which could be further processed to high-value products such as sweeteners, adhesives, biscuits, noodles, bread, and cakes.
With an annual production estimated at 6.8 million tons, Tanzania is the 12th largest producer of cassava in the world and the sixth largest in Africa following Nigeria, DR Congo, Ghana, Angola, and Mozambique, respectively.