Dar es Salaam. The African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) has received a grant of about Sh4 billion ($1.8 million) from the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) to promote the use of maize hybrids in sub-Saharan Africa, including Tanzania.
AATF is a not-for-profit organisation that facilitates and promotes public-private partnerships for the access and delivery of appropriate agricultural technologies for sustainable use by smallholder farmers.
The funding was delivered under the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) programme which is the bedrock of the AfDB’s Feed Africa Strategy 2016-2025 whose overall objective is to scale up the use of proven agricultural technologies to increase agricultural productivity among smallholder farmers on the continent.
The programme has 15 priority intervention areas, including maize, rice, wheat, soybean, pulses, cassava, dairy, poultry and fish production, among others, according to a statement issued by the foundation yesterday.
“Each of the compact is managed by a specific competent international agricultural organisation, as selected by AfDB. AATF is the implementing lead of the TAAT maize compact and food policy programmes in Africa that aims to increase maize production by at least 30 per cent and reach at least two million households in sub-Saharan Africa by 2020,” it stated.
The TAAT maize compact targets 12 countries, namely Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Benin, Ghana and Cameroon.
In Tanzania, the programme aims to work with at least ten seed companies to produce a minimum of 5,000 tonnes of certified maize hybrids from about ten selected climate-smart maize hybrids for the next three years.
AATF has also partnered with the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (Tari) and private seed companies to implement the initiative in Tanzania.
AATF executive director Denis Kyetere said the organisation will utilise its experience in management of public-private partnerships and commercialisation of technologies to bring the goals of the project to reality.
“AATF is about African farmers and linking them with practical technological solutions for increased agricultural productivity and better livelihoods.
“We are excited to avail our expertise and knowledge to promote climate resilient maize hybrids from various breeding programmes in Africa such as the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) Project, the Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa (DTMA), Stress Tolerant Maize for Africa (STMA) and various others managed by International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and national research organizations,” said Dr Kyetere, adding that with increased productivity and incomes, farmers can transition into farming as a business.
The AfDB’s Feed Africa Strategy aims to significantly raise agricultural productivity and move African production higher on the value chain to agribusiness which will include producing and selling processed goods while providing markets for African farmers.