N2Africa joins multi-stakeholder partnership to support soyabean sector development in Tanzania

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"Partnership will address challenges facing farmers in the production and marketing of soyabean in the country"

An innovation platform that brings together all the stakeholders along soyabean value chain from farmers to government and non-government organizations and the private sector to address the challenges facing soyabean sector development in Tanzania was launched on 13 May 2015 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Participants to the launch of Soybean Innovation Platform with Dr Jackson Nkuba, representative of PS, in suit on the front row

The platform was launched by Dr. Jackson Nkuba, assistant Director of Research and Development of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives (MAFCS) on behalf of MS Sophia Kaduma the Permanent Secretary (MAFC) at the end of a one and a half day meeting that brought together the stakeholders in the soyabean sub-sector to iron out the composition and functions of the platform.

The idea of forming a platform was initiated in December 2013 at the launch of the Catholic Relief Service (CRS) Soya ni Pesa Project, funded by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and implemented in three regions of Ruvuma, Njombe and Morogoro. "CRS is very pleased to see the launch of the platform and will continue to support the platform and the development of the soyabean sector in Tanzania" CRS representative Ruth Junkin said in her welcoming remark.

Frederick Baijukya, the N2Africa coordinator in Tanzania noted that soyabean had great potential to make a difference in the livelihoods and nutrition of smallholder farmers in Tanzania. "soyabean can be processed in the home into food products which can improve the nutrition and in turn health of the communities and in particular of children. soyabean is a source of cash to farmers can also improve soils through fixing nitrogen in the soils."

Launching the platform, Dr. Nkuba noted soyabean production in Tanzania has been increasing steadily over the years with current annual production estimated at 5000 metric tons. The government soyabean sector strategy, he said, plans to increase this production to 2 million metric tons by year 2020.

However, he noted, even as the demand for soyabean increases, producers often fail to sufficiently meet market demand due to lack of access to inputs such as good seeds, rhizobial inoculants and fertilizers, to finance and markets, and lack of knowledge and skills of smallholder farmers on modern farming methods.

The message from the Permanent Secretary said "To address these obstacles we need to coordinate the efforts of all the different actors and development partners to have tangible and quick results. I am therefore pleased to see the formation of this innovation platform to promote the development of the soyabean sector in Tanzania. I am also very pleased to be selected as its patron."

It is envisaged that the platform will enhance soyabean production in the country by facilitating learning and enhance information sharing among all the actors along the soyabean value chain, facilitate coordination of interventions and link different actors together. This in turn will lead to proper utilization of available and emerging opportunities.

The soyabean Innovation Platform is a joint effort made by Catholic Relief Services (CRS), International Institute of Tropical Agricultural (IITA), Ministry of Agriculture Food Security and Cooperative (MAFC), Rural Urban Development Initiative (RUDI), Kijenge Animal Products, TANFEED International, CARITAS Njombe, CARITAS Songea, WOPATA, MUVEK, Clinton Development Initiative (CDI), SeedCo and the Postal Bank of Tanzania. The formation of the platform was facilitated by CRS though the Soya ni Pesa Project and IITA through N2Africa.

Freddy Baijukya