At this year’s varieties show, along with its subsidiary Agrico PSA, the Dutch cooperation took a further step towards continued growth in East Africa. By signing a distribution agreement with Fraxen Consult Ltd, the seed potatoes from the company will be exported to small-scale farmers in Tanzania later this year. It is important for Agrico to have a presence in Tanzania, because this is a huge market to which we can supply our high-quality seed potatoes.
Years ago, Agrico decided to come up with a strategy for East Africa, involving the launch of its own project in Kenya. This initiative in Kenya has enabled Agrico to establish a potato value chain that contributes to food security in this country. By using high-quality seed potatoes and with good guidance based on knowledge, the prospective small farms can increase their potato yield fourfold to fivefold. This gives Kenya a substantial economic boost, ultimately improving the living standards of the country’s inhabitants and their environment. The situation in Tanzania is similar to the market in Kenya before Agrico established a profitable potato value chain in this country. In Tanzania, Agrico registered three potato varieties: Arizona, Markies and Manitou. Because of the market preference, in Tanzania Agrico is starting up with the varieties Manitou and Markies.
As part of a public-private partnership (PPP) between the Tanzanian and Dutch governments, in 2017 Wageningen University & Research founded a Center of Development for the Potato Industry in Tanzania (CDPIT). Over a period of several years, Wageningen University determined how different Dutch varieties fared under the challenging Tanzanian conditions. This revealed that Agrico potato varieties achieved high yields. The combination of good agricultural practices, production through irrigation resulted in yields of between 62 and 72 tons per hectare. Mark Zuidhof, Agrico’s Operational Director: “The market in Tanzania has very high potential. The country has 3.7 million small-scale farmers with an average low potato yield of around 2 to 3 tons per acre. Our existing potato varieties allow us to improve yields for these farmers by up to 12 and 16 tons per acre. We are very pleased that Teddy Mcha decided to become a distributor for Agrico. She has good knowledge of the local market, but also a lot of experience in cooperations between Dutch and Tanzanian companies within the agricultural sector, because of her previous roles for the embassy – and her position as managing director of CDPIT.” Kimoi Moi, Director of Agrico Potato Service Africa: “By applying the experience we have gained in Kenya and the knowledge of our people, we are able to provide our partner in Tanzania with optimum support.”
Teddy Mcha, representative for Tanzania: “This cooperation is really important, because we can now start to distribute high-quality seed potatoes to small-scale farmers in Tanzania. CDPIT has proven that these Agrico varieties achieve excellent results in Tanzania. By opting for existing Agrico varieties, Tanzanian farmers are able to scale up very quickly, thus improving their income. The farmers who were familiar with the varieties from CDPIT’s history (early adopters) are aware of this; they have placed their first orders and will soon be planting these seed potatoes. To raise awareness of this amongst other farmers (the significant majority), we are developing various marketing activities. For example, we are planting demonstration fields, where farmers can see the varieties Manitou and Markies. This enables us to provide proper help and support on the best way of growing these varieties.”
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