South African Parliament encounter the HeroRATs

South African MPs visit APOPO Tanzania

This week South African Members of Parliament involved with the Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform visited Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) as part of their tour of agricultural highlights in Tanzania. The visit was hosted by the Tanzanian Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives with the goal of showcasing some of Tanzania’s most innovative projects in both the public and private sectors and universities.

Agriculture is central to developing economic growth, reducing poverty, and improving food security in the Southern African region. More than 70 percent of the rural population depends on agriculture for their livelihoods, and regional economic growth can be boosted with performance in the agriculture sector. However, increases in agriculture productivity alone will not result in reduced hunger and poverty; effective trade among local, regional and international markets is needed as well.

The parliamentary delegation led by Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu were looking at opportunities for cooperation in order to promote agriculture back home and visited various projects at SUA including APOPO alongside our partner Pest Management and Sokoine University Graduate Entrepreneurs Cooperative (SUGECO). Dr. Ladislaus Mnyone of SUA’s Pest Management Center and Dr. Georgies Mgode of APOPO introduced the project’s latest research and demonstrations.

The delegates were fascinated by the TB detection rat demonstration and showed interested in the potential that APOPO’s TB research and HeroRATs have in the fight against tuberculosis for other countries in Africa. South Africa is one of the countries in the world with the highest burden of TB and APOPO’s research into using the rats as a diagnostic tool was of great interest.