Yara spearheads new efforts to raise agricultural productivity

From left, Norwegian Ambassador to Tanzania Ms Tone Tinnes, Kilolo District Commissioner Peres Magiri, Yara managing director Winstone Odhiambo and Farm For the Future Chairman Osmund Ueland, cut the ribbon to officially launch the Yara Knowledge Centre in Iringa Yesterday PHOTO | CORRESPONDENT

What you need to know:

  • The Yara Knowledge Centre will benefit farmers by promoting positive farming practices such as soil health, balanced crop nutrition and taking care of the environment for sustainable food production that enhance farmer profitability

Iringa. Yara Tanzania, in collaboration with Farm For the Future (FFF) and Seed Co. Limited, on March 6 opened a ‘Yara Knowledge Centre’ that will play a crucial role in raising farmers’ productivity and contributing to sustainable agriculture.

The centre is located at a 350-hectare seed maize farm run by FFF in Ilula District, Iringa Region.

Graced by the Iringa Regional Commissioner, Ms Halima Dendego, in the presence of the Norwegian ambassador to Tanzania, Ms Tone Tinnes, the centre is a boost to efforts by the government in scaling up access to agronomy and extension support, especially for subsistence growers who are struggling with low productivity due to a lack of crop nutrition solution knowledge and other production means.

“Yara Knowledge Centre will be a trusted partner that equips smallholder farmers with the education and skills through practical field demonstrations, tools, and support needed to achieve sustainable farming practices, improve yields, and build prosperous livelihoods,” said Yara Tanzania Managing Director Winstone Odhiambo.

The Yara Knowledge Centre will benefit farmers by promoting positive farming practices such as soil health, balanced crop nutrition and taking care of the environment for sustainable food production that enhance farmer profitability.

It will empower farmers to improve their yields through last-mile access to agricultural inputs, farming knowledge and techniques, as well as the use of digital innovations and modern technologies.

Smallholder farmers will also be empowered to increase their household incomes through a holistic approach, benefiting from research and development, the agribusiness value chain, and innovation.

According to Mr Odhiambo, the Centre will build strong and long-lasting partnerships that instill confidence and trust in smallholder farmers.

“Partnering with Farm For the Future and Seed Co. to run this Yara Knowledge Centre in Ilula is therefore a practical demonstration of our shared commitment to the agriculture transformation agenda being championed by President Samia Suluhu Hassan through bridging the gap in access to subsidised inputs like fertiliser and extension service support to the most needy of our farmers,” Mr Odhiambo noted.

This brings the total number of Yara Knowledge Centres to seven. Others are located in Mbeya, Morogoro, Kilimanjaro, Tabora, Manyara and Zanzibar.

The FFF founder, Mr Osmund Ueland, said the addition of the Yara Knowledge Centre at the farm will accelerate the dream of the project becoming a model centre for social development in Tanzania.

“Our mission is to work with likeminded partners to upgrade the programme to get 2000 smallholder farmers from 16 villages surrounding the project out of poverty by 2030,” he noted.

He appealed to the government to hasten its promise to provide three boreholes to each of the 16 villages, which will provide a great starting point for grouping larger pieces of land together and starting irrigation and mechanisation in the villages.

The Seed Co. Limited managing director, Clive Muganda, said his firm will continue supporting initiatives that drive the use of research and shared knowledge on soil health, environmental sustainability and strengthening agriculture value chains for inclusive wealth creation.

Ms Dendego hailed the joint launch of the Yara Knowledge Centre by the three partners, noting that it will go a long way in addressing serious gaps that continue to limit farmers in the region from reaching their fullest production potential.

Ms Dendego mentioned some of the challenges facing farmers in the region, such as a lack of agronomic knowledge and farm inputs such as fertiliser, poor infrastructure, affordable technologies, pests and diseases, inadequate water resources, market disruptions, a lack of capital, and climatic vulnerability.