Funds for Timely Fertilizer and Seed Supplies and Extension Services
WASHINGTON, October 23, 2012 – The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today approved US$25 million to boost the productivity of Tanzania’s agriculture sector through timely delivery of seeds and fertilizer to 300,000 farmers, and additional financing of US$30 million to enable farmers to access the latest in agricultural knowledge, farm technology and irrigation infrastructure. The funds will be provided by the International Development Association.*
The funding comes at a time of rising grain and fertilizer prices, and investments in the rural farm economy are needed to help small farmers to get inputs, extension services and access to local infrastructure. The financing will support seed and fertilizer subsidies under Tanzania’s flagship National Agricultural Input Voucher Scheme (NAIVS) that has already distributed over 15 million vouchers to over 2.5 million farm households, enabling purchase and application of more than 500,000 tons of fertilizer and 50,000 tons of improved seed. These inputs have increased production of 1.5 million tons of additional maize and rice reducing the country’s dependence on costly grain imports and food aid.
The additional resources will support local investments under the Agricultural Sector Development Program (ASDP) to increase smallholder crop and livestock productivity and farm incomes by strengthening small scale irrigation development, farmer capacity building and service delivery and market linkages. The program has noted substantial gains, including rehabilitation and establishment of 120,822 hectares in irrigation contributing to a 48 percent gain in total irrigated area, which has led to a doubling of irrigated rice productivity. The number of farmers using improved seeds and farm mechanization has also increased.
“Increasing the productivity of Tanzania’s farm sector is essential for meeting national economic growth targets, boosting food availability and protecting the environment,” said Philippe Dongier, World Bank Country Director for Tanzania. “This support is designed to help Tanzania achieve the goal of five percent agricultural growth rate and give farmers access to latest knowledge, technology and infrastructure.”
Agriculture is the primary economic activity for 80 percent of Tanzania’s population. The Agricultural Sector Development Program (ASDP) is Tanzania’s primary tool for implementing its growth strategy for the farm sector as outlined in Mkukuta II, the national development plan.
“Achieving income growth and food security are closely inter-linked and both depend on the sustained adoption of modern agricultural technologies,” said Jamal Saghir, World Bank Director for Sustainable Development in Africa. “Our support for Tanzania’s farm economy is designed to offset the risks posed by spiking food and fertilizer prices and climate change by equipping farmers with the necessary tools to increase food production to reduce dependence on imports and mitigate impact of climatic shocks” .
“Recent impact surveys indicate that the improved seed and fertilizer made available through the subsidy program have increased average maize yields by 1.2 tons per hectare, and increased average rice yields by 0.6 tons per hectare,” said Tijan Sallah, World Bank Sector Manager Agriculture, Rural Development and Irrigation. “We look forward to effective implementation of these projects for the benefit of all Tanzanians.”
* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing loans (called “credits”) and grants for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 81 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.5 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 108 countries. Annual commitments have increased steadily and averaged about $15 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent of commitments going to Africa.