Project planning meeting held in Tanzania

Project planning meeting held in Tanzania

Participants of the in-country meeting for HOPE at Moshi in Tanzania

Participants of the in-country project meeting at Moshi in Tanzania

ICRISAT and the Tanzanian Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives held a meeting on the ICRISAT- Harnessing Opportunities for Productivity Enhancement (HOPE) of sorghum and finger millet for Eastern and Southern Africa project 29 and 30 March 2010 at Moshi, Tanzania.

In her opening remarks, country coordinator Frida Mgonja outlined the objective of the meeting, which was to give the country project team, collaborating partners and key stakeholders an opportunity to understand the rationale of the project, what it promises to deliver, the progress achieved so far and the implementation.

Mary Mgonja, representing the Director of ICRISAT, outlined the history of the project from its inception. She informed the participants that Tanzania and Ethiopia were the project’s main target countries, as they have large populations and both the targeted crops of the project (sorghum and finger millet) were represented in this region. She therefore urged stakeholders to work hard to realize the set targets.

The workshop attracted 46 participants (35 men and 11 women) from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, Department of Research and Development (DRD), Tanzania Official for Seed Certification Institute (TOSCI), Tanzanian Pesticide Research Institute (TPRI), Tanzanian Breweries Limited (TBL), seed companies and ICRISAT. Mary Mgonja, Henry Ojulong, Franklin

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Simtowe and Joseph Kibuka represented ICRISAT.

The workshop was opened by the honorable Assistant Minister of Agriculture, Matayo Devis. While emphasizing the importance of the project, Devis said the project with its value chain approach will give farmers access to the market, the lack of which has diminished the prominence of sorghum production in the country. He observed that the project was in line with the government’s policy of ‘agriculture first’ and promised that everything will be done to make the project a success. He was grateful for the country’s co-ownership of the project and commended ICRISAT for its efforts in implementing projects in semi-arid areas.

Project co-coordinator Wazel Ntundu gave a summary of activities, including the distribution of 1000 kilograms of breeder seed of sorghum variety Macia for quality seed production, field days organized by TPRI in Miwaleni and Moshi, and a joint Participatory Varietal Selection (PVS) trial and workshop for trainers on technology delivery system tentatively slated for May or June 2010. The house was also informed that a number of millet varieties chosen during PVS trials have been planted this season. In addition, two lines were at the National Performance Trials for distinctive uniformity and stability testing.

At the meeting, members noted that the release of seeds should be given high priority. They also stated that some goals were not accomplished in 2009. It was made known that with adequate funds implementers could accomplish the objectives by May this year. The representative of the seed companies promised to talk to government officials about seed subsidiaries and providing a budget for the purchase of seeds in the next financial year.

The meeting concluded with participants being treated to Eagle lager, a sorghum beer made by Tanzanian Breweries Limited.