With Dar es Salaam port providing access to the Indian Ocean for the interior of Tanzania and its neighbouring landlocked countries – Malawi, Zambia and the Congo, Tanzania has a large agricultural potential. The Southern Corridor, through serving both regional and international markets, could become a vibrant sustainable commercial farming sector, helping to enhance local food security and economic development in Tanzania. This potential, however, has been greatly underutilized.
In 2009, Yara and other partners began the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT), to harness this potential. In a Blueprint for Investment, more than 350,00 hectares of farmland will be put under commercial production, to be farmed by emergent and smallholder farmers. The estimated results for the scheme indicate lifting two million people out of poverty, offering at least 20,000 smallholders the opportunity to become fully commercial and bringing in annual revenues of an estimated US$ 1.4 billion into the country.
Several key stakeholders from the public and private sectors are taking part in SAGCOT with Yara, including the governments of Tanzania and Norway, the African Development Bank, World Bank, FAO, and the Tanzania Agricultural Partnership. Similarly to the Tanzanian national policy initiative “Kilimo Kwanza” (“Agriculture First”), the intention is to support smallholder farmers to become commercial farmers, involving the development of clusters of commercial farms and agribusinesses through the corridor, in areas with high agricultural potential.
Building on Kilimo Kwanza, the SAGCOT will have US$ 2.4 billion of private investment over a 20-year period, alongside public sector commitments. The intended result is a tripling of the area’s agricultural output. In an area that has a diverse range of climates and altitudes, a broad range of crop production will be invested in, including cereals, horticulture, coffee, tea, potatoes, bananas, beans, vegetables and sunflowers.