TANZANIA – The Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) plans to construct five warehouses with state- of- art Cold Rooms (CR) to help facilitate the professional storage of diverse seeds being researched and produced, IPP media reports.
Established by the Parliamentary Act No. 10 of 2016, TARI is a semi-autonomous body under the Ministry of Agriculture, responsible for all agricultural research activities conducted by the National Agricultural Research System (NARS) in Tanzania.
The agency is mandated to enhance and strengthen the agricultural research system across the country.
Dr. Geoffrey Mkamilo, the TARI Director General (DG) made the revelation, adding that the key facilities are being installed at TARI Naliendele, TARI Tumbi, TARI Hombolo, TARI Selian, and TARI Dakawa centers.
Dr. Mkamilo said that the construction of the facilities has reached at least 10 percent, showing optimism that completion of this project will play a meaningful role in elevating the seed storage capacity and standards for the institute.
He also unveiled that the agency has begun to complete procedures that will facilitate the certification of the existing soil laboratory at its headquarters in Mlingano.
According to him, the steps regarding the project of purchasing equipment and separators for the laboratory and evaluating the capacity and quality of the laboratory have already been taken, and that, the vital process has reached 40 percent.
DG also added that TARI is working to renovate other laboratories at its Tengeru, Mikocheni, and Mlingano centers with great success for seedling tissue culture production, disease and insect diagnosis, genetically modified organism (GMO) testing in seeds as well as assessment of soil health.
The state-owned seeds research institute has completed preparations to find a bidder who will construct a large fence at its Uyole station, covering a total of 1,042 hectares to protect the research areas from invasion, stated Mkamilo.
The vital project comes at a time when Tanzania is committed to increasing local production and helping achieve the government’s ambition of growing the country’s agriculture sector by 10 percent by 2030.
Recently, the Tanzanian Agricultural Agency (ASA) invested in new irrigation infrastructures at its seed multiplication farms envisioned to meet the country’s seed demand of 187,000 tons against the current production of fewer than 60,000 tons.
According to the agency, the absence of such facilities was incapacitating seed production efforts, especially now that the impacts of climate change are halting food production globally.
Dr. Sophia Kashenge, the Chief Executive Officer for ASA unveiled that in this cropping season, more than 150 acres of maize have dried out due to a prolonged dry spell, which is a great loss to the country.
However, Kashenge said that the ongoing project will enable the state-owned Seed Agency to produce improved seed varieties for different crops throughout the year without reliance on rainfall.