Transforming agriculture in Africa
January 21, 2013
Syngenta supports smallholders in Tanzania through the SAGCOT initiative.
The Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT), an area the size of Italy, stretches from Dar es Salaam on the coast to Malawi, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The rich farmland could help to increase food security in Tanzania and beyond, yet the smallholder farmers in the region lack access to modern inputs, infrastructure and markets, and their crops are at constant risk from extreme weather conditions.
To transform agricultural productivity and reduce environmental impacts in the region and beyond, Syngenta supported the development of the SAGCOT initiative, a public-private partnership that brings together government agencies, NGOs, farmers and private companies. A private investment of $2.1 billion will be catalyzed over a 20-year period, alongside public sector commitments of $1.3 billion.
One of Syngenta’s first initiatives within the SAGCOT region is to work together with fertilizer company Yara and local universities, to support rice and corn growers in the region with technologies and techniques to improve their practices. Working with the smallholder farmers directly on their plots, we have been helping them to implement best practice agronomy protocols, and then measuring what impact this has on their productivity, profitability and environmental impact.
The initial results are encouraging, showing that productivity and profitability for rice and corn can be doubled, with no increase in water use or greenhouse gas emissions per ton of product. The new protocols are also being applied to the development of smallholder out-growers for a major rice plantation which is the first major investment in the SAGCOT area.
“SAGCOT has the potential to transform agriculture in Tanzania and to kick-start economic development in Africa ,” says Kavita Prakash-Mani, Head of Food Security at Syngenta. “SAGCOT is part of the World Economic Forum’s Grow Africa initiative, linking to the G8 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, where Syngenta plays a leading role.”