With over 44 million hectares of arable land, of which only 33 percent is cultivated, agriculture forms a sizeable portion of the Tanzanian economy. According to World Bank data, almost 70 percent of the poor population of the country live in rural areas, almost all of whom are involved in the farming sector. Land is therefore a vital asset in ensuring food and financial security, and among the nine main food crops are maize, sorghum,millet, rice, wheat, beans, cassava, potatoes, and bananas. In addition, the agricultural industry makes a large contribution to the country's foreign exchange earnings, with in excess of 1 billion USD coming from cash crop exports. The agricultural sector faces various challenges, both climatic and to do with access to technologies, which can be improved with collaborative work and better access to open data and the tools to help use it effectively.
GODAN Executive Director Andre Laperriere was in Dodoma this week to meet with the Right Honorable Japhet Hasunga, the Minister for Agriculture of Tanzania. Alongside plans for the upcoming Agriculture Geodata and Internet Conference (AGDIC2019) and high-level Ministerial Summit to be held in Accra in October, they discussed the potential for open data and collaboration towards increased productivity, financial security and resilience in the country's agricultural sector.