DEPUTY Minister for Agriculture, Innocent Bashungwa yesterday paid tribute to Sagcot Catalytic Trust Fund (CTF) for loaning and giving extension services to peasants.
Mr Bashungwa said this while visiting the Fund’s offices, adding that small holder farmers have a myriad of problems yet few institutions care to help them. But, he said, the fund has enabled peasants to engage in efficient and rewarding farming by giving them loans and extension services.
The Deputy Minister asked the fund to team up with institutions working directly with farmers, like the Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank, and formulate a sustainable programme that will help pull millions of peasants from poverty and wretchedness. The programme would then be forwarded to the ministry.
“I congratulate you on paying attention to peasants’ problems. You have braved the challenges that you have just explained. But, I believe if you cooperate with other agricultural stakeholders, you will be able to turn Tanzania into a middle-income nation because agriculture employs more than 65 per cent of wananchi and it is a big source of raw materials for local industries,” he said.
Mr Bashungwa said the government remains committed to providing farmers with imported farm inputs, capital and sourcing markets for identified strategic crops; hence the importance of conceiving joint sustainable programmes that will motivate peasants to engage in rewarding farming.
The Fund’s Executive Secretary, Mr John Kyaruzi assured the Deputy Minister that his observations will be acted upon because they aim at benefiting the peasants.
The CTF has built warehouses for peasants in southern highlands regions and has given them and small holder farmers concessionary loans and extension services.