Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) has been advised to find a way to help farmers process agricultural produce to increase their value and make it easier to export the products and thus eliminate the notion that African countries only export raw materials abroad
The advice was given on March 17, 2021 by the Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Accounts (PAC) Hon. Naghenjwa Kaboyoka at Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) where members of the committee visited to see the progress of various development projects being implemented at the university
Hon. Kaboyoka told SUA that they have a great responsibility to help farmers, especially to ensure that their product has the required value and quality, thus facilitating access to markets from within the country and even abroad, which will help boost the country's economy.
Chairman of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Hon. Naghenjwa Kaboyoka speaking during their visit to SUA
"The farmers spend alot of money on production, they buy inputs, takes out a loan and many more but in the end they are told that there is no market, it is very sad and disappointing," noted Hon. Kaboyoka
As the only university that focuses on training, conducting various research and providing technical advice in the agricultural sector in the country, Sokoine University of Agriculture has been asked to ensure they continue to come up with strategies that will help bring solutions to various challenges facing farmers now and in the future.
For his part, the Vice Chairman of PAC, Hon. Japhet Hasunga expressed his surprise and dismay at the way many laboratories in the country are failing to identify fake fertilizers and pesticides imported and causing huge losses to farmers and pastoralists.
He said the time has come where it is important now as a country to ensure that there are modern laboratories that can measure the quality of fertilizers and medicines to help Tanzanian farmers gain access to these inputs and help them achieve their goals and not vice versa.
Group photo featuring members of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and various SUA officials after visiting the Multipurpose Laboratory Building
Responding to some of the arguments raised by the PAC Members, Vice Chancellor of Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) Prof. Raphael Chibunda said that currently the university has already made great efforts to ensure they help farmers where they have been able to improve the curriculum and the way they teach students and they have seen many positive results as many SUA graduates have been empowered to add value and process their products.
Professor Chibunda explained that the move has made many young people to employ themselves through setting up various processing and packaging industries for these agricultural and livestock products where he mentioned some of the companies, organizations and industries established by SUA graduates who are doing a good job of adding value and selling products with quality especially in dairy and bee products.
Professor Chibunda went on to explain also that the Sokoine University of Agriculture has modern Soil Laboratory facilities which helps many farmers to measure and determine soil and fertilizers quality and that it has continued to do well after the government enabled the university to buy modern equipment for the laboratory
View of the Multipurpose laboratory building at the Edward Moringe Campus (SUA Main Campus) in Morogoro, Tanzania
The parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) which serves as a watchdog overseeing expenditure of public money and the implementation of the national budget paid a one-day visit to Sokoine University of Agriculture with the aim of seeing the development of various government-funded projects where they visited the construction of the Multipurpose Laboratory building which is in the final stages of construction which until its completion will cost more than 11 billion shillings, of which the Central Government has provided more than 9 billion shillings and 2.6 billion as internal revenue of the university
Story and Photo Credits
Gerald Lwomile, SUAMEDIA