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Towards the end of 2015, Ansaf commissioned a study on coffee value chain. The study covered six districts in Kagera, Kigoma, Kilimanjaro, Mara and Mbeya regions.Photo Gallery | Session Video | Publication
Towards the end of 2015, Ansaf commissioned a study on coffee value chain. The study covered six districts in Kagera, Kigoma, Kilimanjaro, Mara and Mbeya regions.
The study found that 90 per cent of the coffee is produced by smallholder farmers and only 10 per cent comes from large estates. A smallholder farmer, in the context of coffee subsector in Tanzania, can be a household owning relatively small farms of about half a hectare on which they produce both subsistence and cash crops.
In most cases, the household depends on family labour to produce the crops. According to the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) reports, coffee accounts for about 5 per cent of Tanzania’s total exports by value and generates earnings averaging $100 million (about Sh230 billion) per annum. Although local coffee consumption is between 7 to 8 per cent, there are signs of increased coffee drinking culture at a rate of 1.5 to 2 per cent. The Tanzania Coffee Industry Development Strategy (2011) has set the goal of increasing coffee production to 100,000 tonnes by 2021.
According to the study, coffee productivity has decreased due to the farming of old coffee trees, lower quality of the coffee, unreliable and in most cases fluctuating world markets, illegal cross-border trade through smuggling of coffee, and poor extension services.
The government has made efforts to address the bottlenecks including the reduction of taxes and levies associated with coffee marketing in Tanzania. Already, more than 20 taxes and levies have been removed with the view to facilitating the growth of the sector.
Given multiple responsibilities of the government and limited budget needed to address the challenges, the study recommended that other coffee stakeholders should complement the efforts of the government to provide extension services. It was further noted that poor performance of extension officers working with local government authorities was due to their lack of expertise on coffee crop management.
One of the recommendations of the study was to train extension officers as well as smallholder farmers on good agricultural practices as a way of increasing productivity.
The majority of extension officers had learned about coffee production in books but did not have the necessary practical experience to advise farmers on best practices. In addition, farmers could be trained to gradually replant aging coffee trees with new higher-yielding, disease-resistant varieties. It is estimated that a farmer can save up to Sh1 million per hector from the cost of treating Coffee Berry Disease (CBD) diseases if new coffee varieties are planted.
The prices of coffee will also increase as a result of the high quality of coffee of the new varieties. The yield of new coffee varieties is higher than that of traditional coffee varieties at almost threefold. It is recommended to replace coffee trees gradually for some years to come.
This practice minimizes disruptions to cash flow. Similarly, farmers are recommended to gradual intensify their production methods through increased fertilizer use. The implication of this approach is that yield gains may take longer to manifest, but adoption rates are likely to be higher because farmers do not have to make short-term sacrifices in income or costly upfront investments. In 2018, ANSAF teamed up with its member based in Kilimanjaro, Café Africa, to launch a four-module training of trainers for extension officers in Moshi District Council.
The refresher course started early November where 30 extension officers were enrolled and trained. The training is aimed at equipping extension officers on creating farmers’ awareness on best practices in coffee management.
Topics covered were coffee production in relation to climatic changes; accountability within the framework of cooperatives; post-harvest management practices; coffee market and quality control. They also learned about seedlings production; and diversification activities with coffee farming.
At the closing ceremony, the Moshi District Commissioner Mr Kippy Warioba called for more joint initiatives to support the coffee sector. “The collaboration between Café Africa, Agricultural Non State Actors (ANSAF), TaCRI, the Moshi District Council and the Tanzania Coffee Board sets for us an example of how public private partnership should be. This is a well-done job,” Mr Warioba said.
The writer is Ansaf’s Communications Officer.
Africa has what it takes to feed the world if the continent can fully exploit its agricultural potential, experts say.
Africa, according to Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (Sagcot) chief executive officer, Geoffrey Kirenga, spends at least $30 billion on importation of food. Mr Kirenga said it was a disgrace for a continent with such vast arable land to spend lots of money to import food from abroad.
He made this remark during the fourth Mwananchi Thought Leadership Forum (MTLF) whose theme was ‘Agriculture Our Lifeline.’
The forum was organised by Mwananchi Communications Limited (MCL) in collaboration with ITV/Radio One.
“About 60 per cent of African land is still uncultivated, with 50 per cent of it found in Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique,” he noted. Specifically, according to him, Tanzania is also capable to feed the continent if the potential available in the Southern Highlands, Lake Zones, northern and the Coast areas where virtually everything can be grown will be fully utilised.
Despite agriculture being considered the backbone of the country’s economy, Mr Kirenga disclosed that Tanzania was producing only 25 per cent of its agricultural potential because of poor technology, unpredictable policies and shortage of funds.
Mr Kirenga exuded confidence that, should Tanzania manage to take full advantage of the remaining percentage, it has the capacity of guaranteeing food security besides feeding the entire continent.
“If our farmers use the right seeds, fertilisers and embrace modern farming methods, they can triple their harvests. For farmers who harvest two tonnes of maize per year, it is possible for them to produce between seven and 11 tonnes per hectare annually,” he said.
According to him, the same can happen to potato farmers where one producing eight tonnes per hectare can raise production to between 20 and 40 tonnes.
He opined that the country needs good seed policies to improve provision of better seeds to farmers, noting that climate-smart agriculture requiring addition of manure and plants remains to the land was crucial.
Officiating the forum, the minister for Agriculture, Mr Japhet Hasunga admitted that despite deliberate initiatives to reinforce the sector, its contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was still wanting.
He said in 2017 the sector’s contribution to GDP stood at 28.7 per cent, but more than 65.5 per cent of Tanzanians directly depended on it for their survival.
Mr Hasunga challenged stakeholders to brainstorm solutions to the problems, which have been impeding growth of the sector despite being blessed with vast arable land.
Responding to the minister, agriculture stakeholders levelled blame on the current unpredictability of policies, multi-regulatory bodies, unfriendly taxation system, poor lending to farmers and poor storage facilities for stagnating the sector.
The Agriculture Non-State Actors Forum (Ansaf) managing director, Mr Audax Rukonge, pointed out that unpredictable policies and unfriendly tax environment were the major challenges affecting investment in the sector.
Citing the dairy industry, Mr Rukonge said one needs to register with up to at least 26 institutions to do an investment to the subsector.
He also cited examples of irrigation projects which needed urgent change of policies to save the money that has already been directed to irrigation projects.
“Unpredictability of policies affect investment. For instance, changes in policies after investors have injected lots of money in the projects has caused them massive losses,” he said.
Regarding extension services, he said agricultural experts are not enough to meet the demand, which requires a ratio of one village one extension officer.
According to him, post-harvest loss is another challenge that hinder the growth of the sector since at least 35 to 40 per cent of cereals are lost annually and 60 per cent of fruits and vegetables damaged.
Stakeholders say both public and private financing of agriculture is still wanting.
For commercial banks, for instance, only eight out of 100 loans offered are for agriculture, a single factor that has made all other interventions to revamp the sector ineffective.
Also, the government has never allocated 10 per cent of its annual total budget to the sector as it was agreed during the 2003 Maputo Agreement.
Managing director of Tanzania Agriculture Development Bank (TADB) Japheth Justine admitted that the situation is still challenging and putting off some investors.
According to him, only Sh1 trillion was offered by the commercial banks as loans to the agricultural sector in 2017.
A policy advisor to ASPIRES, an organisation dealing with promotion of agriculture, Mr David Nyange, also added that only 6.7 per cent of loans issued in the 2017/18 financial year went to the agriculture.
The Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) also shows that from 1997 to 2017 only 5.6 per cent of investment were for in agriculture. The number, however, jumped to eight per cent last year.
Apart from little insufficient money being injected into agriculture, the time for repayment of loans provided by commercial banks is also too short for farmers and investors to afford, according to him, adding it is difficult for an investor in the agricultural sector to repay the loan within five to six years. “We (TADB) plan to increase loans to the agriculture sector to at least 15 per cent, making commercial banks offer at least Sh4 trillion per year. We plan to engage the banks and set a standard amount for agriculture,” Mr Justine said.
The same idea worked and bore fruit in India where they commanded all banks to direct 15 per cent of the amount of loans they offer to agriculture.
TADB has so far disbursed more than Sh102 billion to farmers and other investors in the farming industry.
“Sh80 billion has been set aside for small-scale farmers and we are committed to dishing out half of the amount while commercial banks will disburse the rest,” noted Mr Justine.
The NMB Bank has so far issued some Sh450 billion to finance farmers in the past four years, according to the bank’s senior manager for agribusiness, Mr Carol Nyangaro.
He said over 300 small and medium scale farmers cooperative societies, agricultural inputs processors and traders are on the list of beneficiaries.
Since independence in 1961, the government has been coming up with various national declarations to revamp agriculture and fuel its growth, like Siasa ni Kilimo, Kiswahili for Politics and Agriculture, Kilimo Kwanza (Agriculture First) and Mpango Kabambe (Ambitious Programme).
Mr Obey Assery, the director of policy and planning in the ministry of Agriculture also revealed that the government has so far scrapped 105 charges on agricultural products to attract more investors in the sector.
However, stakeholders still called for consistence of policies and change of some laws, regulations, taxation system and strategies if Tanzania is to take the sector to the next level. Agricultural Council of Tanzania (ACT) executive director Timoth Mmbaga has called for massive investments on storage facilities
. “We don’t have enough cold-storage facilities for horticultural products,” he said, calling on the private sector to invest in the area. Mr Hasunga said his ministry was in a process of constructing storage facilities under the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) that will see more than 501,000 tonnes of agricultural products stored.
“If the facilities are well constructed, the country’s food security will be guaranteed even if weather vagaries hit it,” he said.
For her part, Dr Anna Temu, an economist, researcher and advisor at the University of Sokoine (Sua), called for assured markets, massive investments in technology and access to improved seeds and fertilisers.
Moreover, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (Fao) said that Tanzania needs to transform the sector by amplifying political commitment, increase public investment levels, increase public financing and encourage more partners to invest in it.
Fao’s representative in Tanzania, Mr Fred
Kafeero, said the country is part of the broader global community and,
therefore, it is obliged to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals (2030),
the African Union’s Agenda 2063 (The Africa we Want), Africa’s commitment to
end hunger by 2025, and the 2014 Malabo Declaration
Dar es Salaam. Only eight out of 100 loans offered by commercial banks are for agriculture, a single factor that has made all other interventions to revamp the sector ineffective.Photo Gallery | Session Video | Publication
Dar es Salaam. Only eight out of 100 loans offered by commercial banks are for agriculture, a single factor that has made all other interventions to revamp the sector ineffective.
Top executives of commercial banks were of the common view that funding of agriculture activities remains the biggest challenge to the sector but said they are committed to reverse the trend.
Speaking during the Mwananchi Thought Leadership Forum (MTLF) on agriculture, managing director of Tanzania Agriculture Development Bank (TADB), Mr Japheth Justine, said the situation was discouraging.
According to him, only Sh1 trillion was offered by commercial banks as loans to agriculture sector in 2017.
“Even time for repayment of loans provided by commercial banks is too short for farmers and investors to afford. It is hard for an investor of agriculture to return the loan within five to six years. They need more time,” he noted.
He said TADB was planning to increase loans to the agriculture sector to at least 15 per cent, making commercial banks offer at least Sh4 trillion per year.“We plan to engage commercial banks and set a standard amount for agriculture. We learnt this from India where they commanded all banks to direct 15 per cent of the amount of loans they offer to agriculture,” he noted. He bank has so far offered more than Sh102 billion to farmers and other investors of agriculture activities.
He said for a long time commercial banks have been shutting their doors on agriculture on the ground that the sector is risky business. “But now there had been a paradigm shift,” he said.
“Some Sh80 billion is set aside as the guarantee scheme for small- scale farmers. We are committed to dishing out half of the amount while the rest is to be disbursed by other commercial banks,” noted Mr Justine. The NMB Bank senior manager for agribusiness, Mr Carol Nyangaro, said the bank has so far issued some Sh450 billion in loans to farmers in the past four years.
The Citizen understands that the bank had issued the aforementioned amount to 1.5 million farmers since 2015.
Over 300 small and medium scale farmers’ cooperative societies, agricultural inputs processors and traders are on the list of beneficiaries.
A policy advisor to ASPIRES, an organization dealing with promotion of agriculture, David Nyange said on 6.7 per cent of loans issued in the year 2017/2018 went to agriculture sector.
“Long term loans rare, there is a need for nontraditional loans like leasing and equity,” he said.
He said from year 1997-2017 only 5.6 per cent of investment under the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) were for the agriculture sector. The number, however, jumped to 8 per cent last year.
The government admitted that despite deliberate initiatives to bolster agriculture sector, its contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is still not in a good shape.Photo Gallery | Session Video | Publication
The government admitted that despite deliberate initiatives to bolster agriculture sector, its contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is still not in a good shape.
According to the agriculture minister Japhet Hasunga in 2017 the sector’s contribution to GDP stood at 28.7 per cent. He added that under the period of review, the sector absorbed 65.5 and 10 per cent of labor force in direct and indirect employment respectively.
Mr Hasunga, who also doubles as Vwawa lawmaker (CCM) was speaking Thursday night, May 23, during the fourth Mwananchi Thought Leadership Forum, under the theme ‘Agriculture, our lifeline’.
"It is high time all agriculture stakeholders scratched their heads and come up with the reasons as to why the sector was not that productive despite the government's several statements to spur its performance," suggested Mr Hasunga.
He cited some slogans used in the sector whose growth rate in the first
"We need to ask ourselves what factors are actually impeding the performance of the sector. Is it lack of opportunities? or lack of assured market or is it unfriendly laws and regulations?" he stressed.
The Tropical Pesticide Research Institute (TPRI) has come up with a technology that is specifically meant to control the invasion of Fall Armyworms (FAW).
FAW were first reported as present on the African continent in January, 2016 (Goergen 2016) and they invaded Tanzania in 2017. Subsequent investigations have revealed the pests are now in nearly all of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where they are causing extensive damage, especially to maize fields and to a lesser degree, sorghum and other crops.
Currently, over 30 countries have identified the pest within their borders including the island countries of Cape Verde, Madagascar, São Tomé and Príncipe, and the Seychelles.
Although new agricultural pests are periodically introduced into the African agricultural environment posing some degree of risk, a number of characteristic factors make FAW a more devastating pest than many others.
However, TPRI’s Pest and Pesticide Management senior researcher Maneno Chidega told the Mwananchi Thought Leadership Forum that to help farmers they have started to create awareness and train agriculture officers on the best ways to deal with the situation and what and how to use pesticide.
“We came up with a technology known as fall armyworm symptomatic spraying scheme for Tanzania, a new scheme which stipulates what kind of pesticide can be used during early symptoms of the invasion,” he said.
The FAW are an invasive species that invaded the country in March 2017, and are now in more than 18 regions, farmers are facing a huge challenge because they are not aware of the kind of enemy they are dealing with, said Dr Chidega.
According to him, the FAW are known for their first moves which is to land into a plant and the first thing is to consume the leaves and then going into the wall or funnel to hide and consume the crop while other pest are just contact pests unlike the FAW, which consumes the inside of the crop.
He explained that through the scheme the farmer is advised to use the systemic pesticide that goes direct into the plant killing the FAW caterpillar.
“This scheme is important because it helps farmers to know pesticides to use at early stages but when advanced the technique is to use the systemic pesticide that goes in the plant where the caterpillar may be,” he said.
He noted that the tool is important and 3,000 extension officers have been trained in order to train farmers and they have developed a system post training impact monitoring that ensures that even while at the office or laboratory they can know when farmers are trained with their signatures and the date and location.
“We have been facing challenges whereby after extension officers are trained, we are not sure whether they too pass the skills on or not but with the post training impact monitoring we are sure,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, according to the first edition of Fall Armyworm in Africa: A Guide for Integrated Pest Management FAW consume many different crops. FAW are capable of feeding on over 80 different types of crops, making them among the most damaging crop pests.
While FAW has a preference for maize, the main staple of SSA, it can also affect many other major cultivated crops, including sorghum, rice, sugarcane, cabbage, beet, groundnut, soybean, onion, cotton, pasture grasses, millets, tomato, potato, and cotton.
FAW spreads quickly across large geographic areas. Like other moths in the genus Spodoptera frugiperda, FAW moths have both a migratory habit and a more localised dispersal habit.
In the migratory habit, moths can migrate over 500 kilometres before oviposition. When the wind pattern is right, moths can move much larger distances, for example, a flight of 1,600 kilometres from the southern US state of Mississippi to southern Canada in 30 hours has been recorded (Rose et al. 1975).
FAW can persist throughout the year. In most areas of North America, FAW arrive seasonally and then die out in winter, but in much of Africa, FAW generations will be continuous throughout the year wherever host plants are available, including off-season and irrigated crops, and climatic conditions are favourable.
Although the patterns of population persistence, dispersal, and migration in Africa are yet to be determined, conditions in Africa, especially where there is a bimodal rainfall pattern, suggest that the pest can persist throughout much of the year.
Due to its rapid spread and distinctive ability to inflict widespread damage across multiple crops, FAW poses a serious threat to the food and nutrition security and livelihoods of hundreds of millions of farming households in SSA – particularly when layered upon other drivers of food insecurity.
In Southern Africa, for example, the 2016-17 FAW outbreak arrived just as households in the region were still reeling from the 2015-16 El Niño-induced drought, which affected an estimated 40 million people.
The potential economic impacts of FAW on agricultural productivity across (and beyond) Africa are substantial.
Based on an evidence note published by the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI) in September 2017, in the absence of proper control methods, FAW has the potential to cause maize yield losses of 8.3 to 20.6 million metric tons per year, in just 12 of Africa’s maize-producing countries. This represents a range of 21-53 per cent of the annual production of maize averaged over a three-year period in these countries. The value of these losses was estimated at between $2.48 billion and $6.19 billion.
To date, development and implementation of a coordinated, evidence-based effort to control FAW in Africa has faced a number of challenges. In particular, FAW is a recently introduced pest in Africa.
Therefore, FAW scouting by farming communities and effective monitoring at the country, regional, and continental levels are limited.
In addition to delaying recognition of the pest’s movement through Africa, this lack of surveillance, monitoring, and scouting capacity has delayed efforts to determine several key unknowns about FAW populations on the continent and the dynamics of the pest’s establishment and spread.
The lessons learned from the invasive FAW pest should be identified quickly because they are important for monitoring and interception of future invasive pests. Beyond the challenges of recognizing and characterizing the presence of FAW in Africa, the lack of validated strategies to effectively manage FAW in an African context also poses challenges.
Proven approaches to prevent and avoid FAW are presently limited, and efforts to suppress the pest have largely focused on the application of synthetic pesticides – at times in an indiscriminate manner with high potential to damage human, animal, and environmental health.
Furthermore, education, research, and regulatory processes are yet to be scaled up and effectively coordinated across the continent, so as to rapidly disseminate and support emerging best practices for FAW control as they are identified.
Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has said that Tanzania can reach its agricultural potential if it prioritises on transforming the sector by heightening political commitment, increase publicPhoto Gallery | Session Video | Publication
Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has said that Tanzania can reach its agricultural potential if it prioritises on transforming the sector by heightening political commitment, increase public investment levels, increase public financing and encourage more partners to invest in it.
Speaking during the fourth edition of the Mwananchi Thought Leadership Forum (MTLF), themed: “Agriculture, Our Lifeline”, on Thursday, May 23, the organisation's Representative to Tanzania Fred Kafeero said that agriculture, being the key driver to economic growth, effective in poverty reduction, eliminating hunger and malnutrition, the country had the opportunity to join the world in reducing poverty.
He said that Tanzania is part of the broader global community and therefore, it is obliged to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals (2030), the African Union’s Agenda 2063 (The Africa we Want), Africa's commitment to end hunger by 2025 and the 2014 Malabo Declaration.
"All these frameworks call for Tanzania to focus on areas that will contribute to the realisation of its potential. This is by considering raising the sector's budget, which is still inadequate to make a significant impact," said Mr Kafeero.
He further argued that the government has a key role to play in encouraging various stakeholders to work collaboratively if it is to amplify the sector's contribution to sustainable economic growth.
"In realising this, the government as an enabler and coordinator of all other stakeholders in implementing the venture to eradicating poverty and malnutrition, it should open doors for development partners both local and international such as NGOs, the private sector, researchers and academia," he said.
He said that FAO looked at the a sector in its broad sense including livestock, fisheries and forests and will continue supporting Tanzania in various ways to strengthen its capacity to improve the agricultural sector. “FAO will continue to disseminate proven good agricultural practices for a more productive and nutrition sensitive agriculture that will strengthen farmer's resilience to climate change.
Sokoine University of Tanzania (SUA) economist, researcher and advisor, Anna Temu has said that market components are vital for the growth of the&nbsp;agricultural sector.Photo Gallery | Session Video | Publication
Sokoine University of Tanzania (SUA) economist, researcher and advisor, Anna Temu has said that market components are vital for the growth of the agricultural sector.
According to her, markets are not only about trade but it also includes lands, human resource, technology, services as well as inputs.
She said this on Thursday during the fourth Mwananchi Thought Leadership Forum themed ‘Agriculture,our lifeline’.
"As a country, we need to look at the markets individually and ensure all are doing well otherwise when one falls they rest are affected and ultimately affects the whole agricultural chain,” she said.
Explaining she said for decades the land market has been faced with conflicts thereby affecting the whole chain of farming as land is the backbone.
Regarding human resource, she said, it remains the biggest challenge especially as it has always been perceived that it involves low skilled labourers who have failed at either primary or secondary school levels.
The Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (Sagcot) chief executive officer, Mr Geoffrey Kirenga on Thursday night said African countries should start feeding the world instead of the worPhoto Gallery | Session Video | Publication
The Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (Sagcot) chief executive officer, Mr Geoffrey Kirenga on Thursday night said African countries should start feeding the world instead of the world feeding the continent.
Mr Kirenga made the statement during the Mwananchi Thought Leadership Forum (MTLF) that was under the theme; Agriculture Our Lifeline. Speaking during the fourth event organized by Mwananchi Communications Limited (MCL), in collaboration with ITV/Radio one, Mr Kirenga said the continent has the best uncultivated land arable across the world.
“About 60 per cent of this land is found in Africa, 50 per cent of it in Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique. Therefore, Tanzania has role to feed the continent with the task falling to the Southern Highlands, Lake Zones, northern and the Coast areas where everything can be grown,” he said.
He said only 25 per cent of agricultural production efficiency is being realized in the county because of the use of poor technology, noting that a farmer producing two tonnes of maize per hector annually can raise production to 5 tonnes per hector with middle scale farmers reaching up to 11 tonnes
“The same can happen to potatoes where a farmer producing 8 tonnes per hactor can raise production to 20 tonnes and over 40 tonnes per hector,” he said.
According to him, the country needed best seed policies to improve provision of better seeds to farmers, noting that climate smart agriculture requiring addition of manure and plants remains to the land was crucial. “We also require predictable marketing policies to ensure the country builds an industrial economy as emphasized by the fifth phase government” he said.
The notion that agriculture is not bankable has bedevilled farming for decades, with commercial banks virtually shutting their doors on the sector ostensibly on grounds that it is risky business.
Unless and until a farmer provides tangible collateral – preferably a title deed to land or other property – no commercial bank would touch them with a barge pole. This is largely because, for instance, banks assume that livestock rearing is fraught with risks of animal diseases outbreaks, or farm crops could perish from weather vagaries.
However the Tanzania Agriculture Development Bank (TADB) says there has been a paradigm shift starting from last year – what with the bank providing over Sh100 billion in loans to finance some 90 projects. Better still, borrowers have finally dispelled fears of non-performing loans (NPLs) by loan repayments totalling over Sh30 billion during the period, with the NPLs rate maintained at well below three per cent.
This was said by TABD managing director Japhet Justine in an interview with the Mwananchi Thought Leadership Forum (MTLF) in Dar es Salaam last Friday. Apart from the accustomed mind-set that agriculture is a risky venture, Mr Justine identified the biggest challenge to his bank is that borrowers lack adequate project proposals – with some of them proposing projects which don’t indicate how smallholder farmers will be incorporated either directly or indirectly.
“The proposals have gaps which make them not bankable. For example, they don’t clearly indicate how the projects would be implemented; if the cash flow would be enough to help repay the loan. Most also fail to demonstrate ready access to reliable markets for their goods,” he said.
However, he noted that TADB is working with various partners to assist farmers and livestock keepers to develop bankable proposals for financing by banks and other financial institutions.
Working with the Livestock and Fisheries ministry, TADB has established a dedicated Private Sector Desk which – among other things – prepares and/or screens project proposals before they are submitted to the bank.
“So far, we have received projects worth more than Sh60 billion,” Mr Justine said, citing two of the projects worth more than Sh20 billion, and involving 7,000 livestock-keepers, as having been funded with capacity to take off.
“Plans are under way to unlock these value chains and realize their benefits,” he said, stressing that “TADB interventions mean we can double the number livestock keepers.”
In order to facilitate the delivery of balanced and inclusive financing of agriculture – and as part of TADB’s overall financing approach – Mr Justine noted that the Bank has adopted the Clustering and Value Chain Financing approach.
This has helped identify eight clusters (consistent with the country’s agro-ecological zones) and value chains of focus – based on which TADB interventions are being implemented.
As a result of these efforts, the TADB chief pointed out that the bank grew its portfolio of disbursed loans from Sh662 million as of March 31, 2016 to Sh712.9 billion by the end of April 2019.
Noting that the loans have benefited 91 projects and over 1.7 million farmers countrywide, the MD said part of the funds were advanced to finance the off-taking of cashews farming in the 2018/19 season, with payments made to some 404,000 farmers in the country’s main cashews growing regions to-date
“Plans are under way to finance three cashew processing plants,” he said, adding that TADB “is working on a small and medium scale processing solution that would ensure we add value in the country.”
Revealing other key achievements by TADB, Mr Justine stated that the bank advanced a loan of Sh6.6 billion which facilitated procurement and supply of pesticides to over 400,000 cotton farmers in 17 cotton-growing regions and 13 districts during the 2018 cotton season.
As a result, Tanzania enjoyed bumper cotton harvests whereby 221,600 tonnes of cotton were harvested: a 67 per cent increase compared to 133,000 tonnes harvested in 2017. In efforts to promote cotton farming mechanization and increase productivity, TADB extended loans worth Sh2.83 billion for purchasing tractors by 50 cotton-growing AMCOS with 6,864 members in the Lake Zone, he stated.
Pointing out successes recorded in the development of the new coffee marketing system, Mr Justine explained that TADB, working in partnership with the government of President John Magufuli, advanced a total of Sh30 billion to facilitate the processing and marketing of coffee in Kagera Region in the 2018 farming season, thus benefiting 201,236 local famers.
TADB intervention also facilitated the revival of three cooperative unions in Kagera Region to their former glory: Kagera District Cooperative Union (KDCU), Kagera Cooperative Union (KCU), and Ngara Farmers’ Cooperative Union.
Mr Justine also cited milestones in facilitating farmers’ access to finance, markets and technologies through a project implemented in collaboration with the Farm to Market Alliance (FTMA).
Through the partnership, TADB has extended loans of over Sh1.2 billion to eight maize farmer groups in Ruvuma and Rukwa Regions.
Under arrangements with WFP and other players like Yara and Rabobank, TADB aims at supplying maize growers with quality seeds, fertilizers, storage facilities and markets, Mr Justine revealed.
In separate arrangements, the bank is operating a smallholder credit guarantee scheme (SCGS) with local banks. The guarantee enables farmers to access loans from commercial banks through TADB’s partner banks – namely NMB, CRDB and TPB – as well as other banks.
The SCGS programme has $20 million in the kitty, and will enable farmers to access loans of up to Sh44 billion in the first phase of its implementation.
This is an opportunity for local industries that are operating below capacity to engage TADB on how the funds can be accessed to increase production.
Regarding milestones related to furthering the government’s industrialization agenda, Mr Justine stated that TADB has approved a total of Sh17.15 billion to finance eight agro-processing factories along the dairy, meat, sunflower, cereals, and aquaculture value chains in some regions.
“We are happy to do more, since agro-processing is an opportunity to employ more people, and also double exports earnings while substituting imports of, for example, edible oils and other agriculture-related finished products,” he said.
Additionally, TADB has advanced a total of Sh10.32 billion to finance nine irrigation projects for paddy, maize, sorghum, barley and horticultural farming, and pastures for animal feeds.
To bring TADB services closer to intended beneficiaries, the bank has opened three zonal offices, namely TADB Eastern Zone Office in Dar es Salaam; TADB Lake Zone Office in Mwanza, and TADB Central Zone Office in Dodoma. The bank is also about to open another zonal office in the Southern Highlands in Mbeya Region, and a liaison office in Kigoma Region.
Going forward, Mr Justine said, TADB is implementing a Funding Strategy aimed at raising financial resources from domestic and foreign sources to facilitate lending to agricultural projects countrywide.
“We invite investors – local and international – to partner with TADB in transforming the agriculture sector in Tanzania. The opportunities are immense all the way from crops, horticulture, spices, dairy, fisheries and livestock. We are working hard to make sure the vision and tone which is being set by President John Magufuli is realized, and every farmer is uplifted, value chains restructured – and value is added locally through processing,” he said.
The World Food Programme (WFP) has advised Tanzania to focus beyond food sufficiency and start aligning its policies and strategies towards ensuring access to adequate nutritious foods if it is toPhoto Gallery | Session Video | Publication
The World Food Programme (WFP) has advised Tanzania to focus beyond food sufficiency and start aligning its policies and strategies towards ensuring access to adequate nutritious foods if it is to attain purposeful food security.
WFP underscored the need to analyze the concept of food security at a broader level than only food sufficiency.
WFP country representative for Tanzania, Michael Dunford, gave the advice during an interview with Mwananchi Thought Leadership Forum (MTLF).
“Tanzania has always been a surplus food producing country which is a positive thing for any country. However the level of undernutrition has been an issue of great concern,” he noted,” adding: “Just being food secure cannot in itself be sufficient without linking it to availability as well as access to nutritious food”.
He said WFP was encouraged to note that the government has an effective multisectoral nutrition action plan that encompasses all relevant ministries including agriculture, water, gender with the necessary elements to achieve the goal.
“The Key consideration was whether decision makers are using data in an efficient manner and what suitable interventions at both local and regional levels are put in place,” he said.
WFP Strategic Review 2016 on the Framework for Food and Nutrition Security in Tanzania has estimated malnutrition to be an underlying cause of over one-third of under-five deaths. Almost 4 out of 10 children age - to 59 months are chronically undernourished and about one out of every five children weigh too little.
The document says a shortage of nutritionists, extension and community development workers with proper training, skills was among key challenges in the provision of basic nutrition services accross the country.
As a result, vulnerable households are not being reached with key messages about the types of foods that are most nutritious for children, pregnant and lactating women to eat.
According to Mr Dunford, the National Multisectoral Nutritional Action Plan launched in 2017 also aims to create awareness of nutrition at both decision makers and grassroots level.
“WFP has been in Tanzania for over 40 year, our programs mostly depend on the needs of Tanzanians are at that moment, we launched a strategic plan in 2017 that defines our priority areas,” he said.
He said WFP priority areas include support of all the refugees in the country, nutrition programmers, supporting the government protection systems, strengthening government supply chains, focus on innovation and look at how WFP can stimulate and capitalize on that as it supports the government’s Agriculture Sector Development Programme (ASDP) II.
He said central to what WFP was doing was also to support to smallholder farmers directly through activities implemented on the ground and the support provided to the government technical assistants and work being done at the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA).
“We do this ourselves and some in partnership with the government including some exiting partnerships we have with the private sector, we are just in the process of launching a small holder engagement strategy which should be ready anytime soon,” he said.
Last year WFP bought 170,000 metric tons both from the private sector and NFRA along with the logistics associated with moving the food, WFP invested over $60 million into the Tanzanian economy.
It also running a number of projects that work directly with small holder farmers including participation in Farm Market Alliance, an initiative at global level looking at how they can link farmers across the value chain, enable them access farm inputs, finance, agricultural practice training and ensuring markets for their produce.
He said WFP is also focusing at resilience of the agriculture sector by looking at alternatives to maize in places like Dodoma and Singida on developing and strengthening Sorghums value chain.
On the recent dry spells faced by the country, he said it was still premature to state that Tanzania will face a shortage until the government does an assessment to determine the impact and also whether the recent rains have compensated the planting and whether the geminating window has been missed.
“WFP will offer support as required, but I don’t thing Tanzania has been badly thit compared to other countries,” he said. He said it was encouraging to see that the the ASDP II has defined the role of the private sector in commercial farming.
He believes that there is potential for increasing the role and scale for commercial farming. “The current government has expressed it desire for commercialization and industrialization and therefore it is the role of the private sector to seek support from the government to improve commercial farming,” he stressed.
He said the private sector was playing a significant role especially in a country where 80 percent of the population was involved in the agriculture sector.
However, he noted that its contribution to the GDP was still less than 30percent, a considerable mismatch between what the potential was and the reality.
He noted that in such a situation there was still a range of opportunities for the private sector to put in more investment while the government created a conducive environment and identify strong market opportunities to sell products.
He said WFP was among the markets. Last year WFP bought 170,000 metric tons of maize from the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA). The representative also touched on the agriculture budget, the Malabo declaration required countries including Tanzania to allocate 10 percent of their total budget in supporting agriculture.
He said what was required was a multispectral approach through different ministries including investments not only from the government but also the private sector through factors like irrigation systems, new crops and markets.
Dar es Salaam. Determined to take a leading role in making Tanzania’s industrialisation drive a reality, The Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (Sagcot) is counting success after manaPhoto Gallery | Session Video | Publication
Dar es Salaam. Determined to take a leading role in making Tanzania’s industrialisation drive a reality, The Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (Sagcot) is counting success after managing to establish and expand several industries using the initiative’s agriculture-led products.
Sagcot, a public-private partnership the initiative, was formed in 2010 with the task of improving smallholder farmers and ensure crops undergo the best farming while promoting value addition in an innovative way.
It is also working to transform a commercially viable agriculture sector in Tanzania to enhances food security improves livelihoods in an environmentfriendly way. The partnership now says its determination to fulfil the government’s ambitious industrialisation vision has started to bear fruits.
The Sagcot, Chief Executive Officer, Geoffrey Kirenga told The Mwananchi Thought leadership Forum (MTLF) that soon after the government announced its agenda of becoming an industrial country through agriculture-led products by 2025, a number of industries have been established within the corridor, thus giving value addition of local farm products. “Since Sagcot initiative was started in 2010, we have received $800 million (Sh1.8 trillion) commitment for investment and a big part of it has been invested, “he said.
According to the CEO, a $30 million (Sh68.8 billion) tea factory (Kabambe Tea Factory) with a capacity of processing 150 tons of green leaves was established last year in Njombe Region. The factory, however, currently process only 50 tons as expansion plans continue.
The initiative has also managed to support the establishment of a chicken feed factory in Iheme District with the capacity of producing 4.6 tons of chicken feed and Dash Industry in Iringa Region was formed in 2015 to process at least 200 tons of tomatoes daily.
Sagcot is also in talks with ASA diary factory and Kilombero Sugar Company to support major expansion of the businesses with a view of creating jobs for the locals as well as markets for products produced in the corridor.
“For the first time, Iringa is exporting horticulture to Europe and we are currently working with the government to ensure the corridor has reliable infrastructure and energy to support industrialization,” he said.
The government embraced the idea behind the formation of Sagcot to contribute to food security and nutrition. The southern corridor was preferred for the project due to its mild climate when compared with the Coast region which is a tropical humid climate.
The pre-requisites included inclusive investment in support of smallholder farmers, and also ensuring the project is done in a sustainable way, the soil had to be made the best to be able to preserve water and biodiversity. “All public institutions and non-state actors in agribusiness were required to comply with the principles,” he said.
It is currently working in six clusters but only three are currently, operational incur Kirenga said that they were currently working with six clusters but currently only three that were operational. They include including Ihemi cluster comprising of Iringa and Njombe region, the Mbarali cluster covering Mbeya and Songwe and the Kilombero cluster containing Morogoro.
The three operational clusters work in the value chain prioritized in agribusiness including horticulture products, potatoes, tea, soya, diary, sunflower and avocadoes, to mention but a few. They work with strategic partners in soil preparation, improved seeds, fertilizer, crop protection, harvesting, storage, transport, processing, marketing, consumption and financing.
“We bring together key players to look for opportunities and challenges and also work with the government to remove policy constraints,” he said.
He named other three clusters of which they have already secured partners although they are not operation include that of Rufiji, Sumbawanga and Ludewa. Sagcot also work on issues that cut across the value chain system that is very important for the sector including the environment protection, soil health and financing.
The initiative is championing a green growth partnership through which they have brought together partners to support stakeholders, including youth and women, to be more inclusive.
On soil health, he said that low productivity is caused by soil, if the soil is acidic production drops, however noting that when the soil is good to 16 tons,” he said. Similar intervention in tomato farming and other crops has seen a substantial increase in yields.
Sagcot bring together institutions like banks and insurance companies to discuss opportunities that are there and look at financial innovation tools for agriculture.
He noted that while the project has proved beneficial, poor infrastructure and lack of reliable electricity were the major challenges facing the corridor. “While the government has done a commendable job on trunk roads, challenges remain on roads that lead to major producing areas,” he said
Dar es Salaam. Even as opportunities are plentiful, Tanzania’s agriculture sector still lags behind due to lack of progressive policies, coordination and synergy of institutions as well as wrong mindset about the sector.
Agriculture Non-State Actors Forum (Ansaf) executive director Audax Rukonge said this in an interview with Mwananchi Thought Leadership Forum (MTLF) where he underscored the fact that Tanzania is endowed with a huge arable land on which surplus produce to feed the country and its neighbours can be produced.
He, however, noted that the government is yet to adequate budgetary investment to improve the sector.
Ansaf is a member-led forum for non-state actors to discuss and work towards solutions to improve the agriculture sector in the interests of men and women currently living in poverty, it also actively promotes accountability, transparency and citizen engagement (inclusiveness) within the agriculture sector.
Explaining, Mr Rukonge said that for the past one and half decade the country had been producing enough food for the country and still left with surplus. He noted that agriculture employees 66 per cent of the population where a majority of them 65 per cent are women. Further, he said the sector contributes 65 to 75 per cent of raw materials for the manufacturing sector and contributes 35 per cent to foreign exchange and 25 to 35 per cent to the GDP.
However, he noted that despite its huge contribution there still lacked sound policies, laws, strategies and regulations to improve the sector which is run by a number of players including giants, kingmakers, decision and policy makers as well the final player (consumers).
The sector needs urgent intervention to make it progress because it does not only create employment, but produces food as well as contributes to the GDP through the different sectors of fisheries, livestock, crops as well as value addition,” he said.
In another development, he said that while the sector is endowed with different opportunities, the country still loses about Sh2 trillion annually through importation of sugar, milk, cereals, sunflower oil and even meat and fish that can be produced in the country.
According to him, the money used for importation could be used to create more industries in the country, create a window for credit to farmers, improve infrastructure and also contribute to other sectors.
“If we produce professionally, the country can optimise on the East African free trade and export to neighbouring countries that are in need,” he said.
He noted that to capitalise fully on the agriculture sector, the country needed to come up with visionary policies. Coordination and synergy of institutions and change of society mindsets.
Explaining, he said it was imperative the government harmonised its policies as well as changed the mindsets of the society to understand that agriculture is a business like any other business.
“It is surprising that despite agriculture taking precedence in the country because it is expected to produce raw materials for the existing industries and those to be built under the industrialisation agenda for 2025, there is still a gap between researchers and extension officers,” he said.
Explaining, he said extension officers are not privy to research and therefore fail to reach farmers.
In another development, he said there are no coherent policies to support farmers in scenarios when they produce enough food in the country and the same food is imported and sold at a cheaper price.
Farmers face many challenges that at times are self-inflicted, he said. “Let me take the example of rice, when it is produced, surprisingly the government also allows it to flood from outside at a cheaper cost, causing our farmers to lose market,” he explained.
Farmers face many challenges that at times are self-inflicted, he said. “Let me take the example of rice, when it is produced, surprisingly the government also allows it to flood from outside at a cheaper cost, causing our farmers to lose market,” he explained.
He further noted that the government lacked synergies between ministries and institutions, which all have own regulations and policies that are not aligned and make it cumbersome for investors to invest in the industrial sector.
Meanwhile, he explained that while there were many issues that needed to be resolved, the Maputo Declaration that requires governments to allocate at least 10 per cent budget in the sector was yet to be attained and noted that Tanzania has only been able to allocate 5 per cent of its annual budget to the sector.
On the issue of climate change, he said, the country needs to invest in irrigation, improved seeds, infrastructure and markets, otherwise production would be adversely affected.
“The country is endowed with 29 million hectares but only 425 hectares have been developed for irrigation and not yet reached the five year national plan that targeted to reach 1 million hectares by 2015,” he said.
The food production report for 2017/18 shows that the production of food crops in the 2017/18 production season reached 16,981,974 tons including 9,537,857 tons of grain crops and 7,354,117 tonnes of non-grain crops which enabled the country to meet its food needs of 13,569,285 tons in 2018/2019 for a self-sufficiency rate (Self Sufficiency Ratio-SSR) of 124 per cent.
In comparison to the demand and production, the country has an additional 3,013,515 tons that are sufficient for 123 and 120 per cent of the production in the 2016/17 season and 2015/16 tons were 15,900,864 tons and 16,172,841 tons where the food needs associated with the production are 13,159,326 tons, and 13,300,034 for the year 2017/2018 consumption and 2016/2017 respectively.
Further, Tanzania has an ambitious plan to prioritise agriculture for economic growth. The private sector led Agricultural Sector Development Program Phase II (ASDPII) initiative and the establishment of the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (Sagcot) have been endorsed by the government.
The GOT through Sagcot has allocated 63,000 hectares under the Mkulazi Project. The land will be used for cultivation and processing of sugarcane and rice. This project is an important step in achieving the GOT’s objectives for the agricultural sector.
These strategies are being linked to the Agricultural Sector Development Program through Tanzania’s Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) country investment plan.
Mwananchi Communications Limited (MCL) will be organizing its fourth edition of the Thought Leadership Forum (MTLF IV) which will be held on 9th May 2019. The forum seeks to encourage dialogue, shape opinions and policy directions, and propose practical solutions to issues critical to the development and growth of Tanzania. The forum is designed to be a “Highly Interactive Town Hall” format with views from the diverse panel of experts. This will be aired live on ITV and Radio One Stations.
The first forums discussed Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and was graced by the Minister of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Honorable Ummy Mwalimu. The second forum discussed Industrialization and was also graced by the presence of the Minister of Industry Trade and Investment Honorable Charles Mwijage. The Third forum discussed the Environment and was themed “The Charcoal Question in our Economy” and was graced by Honorable January Makamba. These past forums attracted senior decision makers such as CEOs/captains of industry, the diplomatic community, industry experts, academia, students, the affected persons and corporates.
The Fourth Thought Leadership Forum will discuss the Agriculture and it is themed “Our Agriculture, Our Lifeline”. This forum will be graced by Hon Japhet Hasunga as the guest of honor, Minister for the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives.
The forum shall seek to address the following critical areas:
For more information, on sponsorship or to confirm your participation to the forum, kindly contact or Sarah Munema at email@example.com or +255 767 210419, Margaret Kilembe at firstname.lastname@example.org or +255 753 280190.
FAO is a specialised technical Agency of the United Nations with a mandate to manage all aspects of food and agriculture – including crops, livestock, fisheries and natural resources. We provide technical assistance to the government of Tanzania in efforts to eliminate hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition; thus contributing to improving the living standards of all, especially the rural poor.
What have you been doing for all these years?
For 42 years since establishing a Country Office here, FAO has worked closely with the government in the development and implementation of coherent policies, legislation and programmes focusing on food security, nutrition and reduction of rural poverty through crops production, livestock, fisheries and sustainable management of natural resources. A large number of sub-sectoral laws, policies and strategic frameworks have benefited from FAO’s technical support and expertise.
We have over the years strengthened government capacity to align with international standards, codes of conduct and legal frameworks in food and agriculture, and its reporting commitments to international processes through a strong and vibrant agricultural statistics system.
We have introduced proven approaches and good agricultural practices directly working with technical officers, farmers and civil society organizations.
FAO has also strengthened skills, knowledge and innovativeness of government personnel through training, exposure and secondments to various FAO events and projects.
We work closely with academic, training and research institutions in Tanzania, and are strong advocates of increased funding to enable them make meaningful impact
We have played a key technical role in designing various agricultural investment programmes for financing by our partners, including EU, World Bank, IFAD and the African Development Bank.
How does your partnership with Tanzania work?
FAO operations in Tanzania are guided by a Country Programming Framework (CPF) which sets out priority areas for our support and partnership with the government. It is an integral part of the UN Development Assistance Plan (UNDAP-II), and is aligned to the priorities of the government and FAO’s global strategic objectives.
The current CPF runs through 2017 to 2020, and sets out priority areas to guide FAO support and partnership with the government of Tanzania – thus combining innovative international best practices and global standards with national and regional expertise.
The areas are: supporting the development and implementation of evidence-based agriculture policies; legal frameworks and investment programmes; increasing agricultural productivity and production for food and nutrition security; improving market access for increased incomes; strengthening resilience to climate -related threats, and sustainable management of natural resources.
This means we work in several partnerships with relevant government institutions, as well as Researchers and Academia; UN entities; development partners; CSOs and the private sector.
What is the place of agriculture in Tanzania?
FAO looks at the sector in its broad sense including livestock, fisheries and forests. There’s no doubt that agriculture is key to economic growth, effective poverty reduction, elimination of hunger and malnutrition in Tanzania – and is the largest employer, particularly of the rural poor. Agricultural investments throughout the value-chain in the country are, however, still quite low vis-à-vis its enormous potential.
Tanzania is part and parcel of the broader global community and is, therefore, obliged to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals (2030), (the African Union) Agenda-2063: The Africa We want; Africa’s Commitment to End Hunger by 2025; and the 2014 Malabo (Equatorial Guinea) Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods.
All these frameworks mean that Tanzania has to prioritize and transform its agriculture; to heighten political commitment; increase public investment levels; double productivity and significantly reduce malnutrition.
The government has expressed its aspirations and commitments through two key multi-sectoral investment programmes, namely: the Agricultural Sector Development Programme-II and the National Multi-sectoral Nutrition Action Plan. But a close monitoring of progress is essential.
What does the future hold for Tanzania’s agriculture?
It is good to see that the government, development partners, the private sector and other stakeholders jointly developed and adopted long-term multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder frameworks to guide investments in agriculture, food security and nutrition. Effective coordination and integrated implementation are key. FAO advocates a prominent role of domestic and international private sector in making responsible agricultural investments; getting modern production and processing technologies into the country; increasing sectoral financing, and empowering smallholders in accessing profitable markets.
There have been various forums urging the government to facilitate an enabling environment for investments in agriculture; and to foster dialogue and timeliness in decision-making over agricultural investment programmes.
Regarding public financing, the Agriculture budget is still inadequate to make significant impact – and, even then, the proportions disbursed are often below target.
In this era of unpredictable rains and flash floods, prolonged dry seasons, emergence of new pests and diseases, fluctuating prices for agricultural produce, and the threat of deforestation, we need the commitment of every stakeholder to work collaboratively if we are to amplify the sector’s contribution to sustainable economic growth.
Crucial to realizing impact of the sector are the government’s role as an enabler and coordinator of ASDP-II implementation; centrality of farmers; as well as the support of development partners, NGOs, private sector, researchers and academia.
How will you support this future direction?
Agriculture is our lifeline, and we should all join hands to ensure that the sector thrives and meets the food and nutrition needs of the growing population. As such, FAO will continue working with other development partners, UN entities and key stakeholders in supporting the government’s priorities in Agriculture. We will provide our technical assistance in development and implementation of policies, legal frameworks and investment programmes.
We will continue to disseminate proven good agriculture practices for more productive and nutrition-sensitive agriculture that strengthens farmers’ resilience to climate change. We will continue to play our role in strengthening the capacities of government institutions to put in place systems, and improving processes along entire value-chains that meet international standards for products, food safety and hygiene.
About the MWANANCHI Thought Leadership Forum…?
This is a great initiative that gives an opportunity for experts and ordinary citizens to deliberate on important issues which impact livelihoods and the economy in general. FAO congratulates the MWANANCHI Thought Leadership Forum in leading by example to show the positive role of media in fostering development.
‘Agriculture Our Lifeline’ is a befitting topic for all stakeholders because, with agriculture, you achieve economic development, food security and nutrition. Agriculture engages a majority of the people in this country and puts money in the pockets of many people.
Dar es Salaam. What ails the agriculture sector in Tanzania and what are the best interventions to reverse its meagre contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP)?
This was the key question thrown on the floor during the Mwananchi Thought Leadership Forum (MTLF) Thursday night, where agriculture experts, financiers and other stakeholders were given a platform to sell their views and give practical solution to problems that impeded the sector.
Unpredictability of policies, multi-regulatory bodies, unfriendly taxation system, poor lending to farmers and poor storage facilities were major factors that were repeatedly blamed for stagnating the agriculture sector in Tanzania.
MTLF, which is conducted for the fourth time, is MCL’s initiative to stimulate national discourse on issues affecting Tanzanians by encouraging dialogue, shaping opinions and policy directions.
The forum conduct debates and find practical solutions to key issues that are critical to the development and growth of Tanzania. The theme of Thursday’s gathering organised by MCL in collaboration with ITV/Radio One, was “Agriculture, our lifeline”.
The agriculture sector, whose growth rate in the first quarter of 2019 stood at 7.1 per cent. Contributes 28.8 per cent to the GDP as recorded in the past two years.
Officiating the forum, Agriculture minister Japhet Hasunga challenged stakeholders to ‘scratch their heads’ on what exactly impeded the sector, of which 65.5 per cent of Tanzanians directly depended on for their survival.
“It is high time all agriculture stakeholders brainstorm and come up with the answer on why the sector was not sufficiently productive despite several government interventions to spar its performance,”
suggested Mr Hasunga. Citing some catchphrases like Siasa ni Kilimo, Kiswahili for Politics and Agriculture, Kilimo Kwanza (Agriculture First) and Mpango Kabambe (Ambitious Programme) which came with several national declarations to revamp agriculture and fuel its growth, the minister said time has come to change things around.
“We need to ask ourselves what factors are actually impeding the performance of the sector. Is it lack of opportunities? Or lack of reliable markets? Or is it unfriendly laws and regulations?
In a swift rejoinder, stakeholders called for consistence of policies and change of some laws, regulations, taxation system and strategies if Tanzania is to take the sector to the next level.
Executive director of the Agriculture Non-State Actors Forum (Ansaf), Mr Audax Rukonge, said inconsistent policies adversely impacted investment in agriculture.
He cited examples of irrigation projects, saying there was a need of urgent change of policies to save the money that already been injected in irrigation projects. “Investors need to be confident about investment and assured of returns of each cent they invest in agriculture sector,” he said.
He said Tanzania needed to harmonise regulatory bodies which performed similar or related activities, saying it was shocking, for example, to note that a person who wished to invest in dairy industry has to be registered by 26 institutions.
Chief executive officer of the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (Sagcot), Geoffrey Kirenge and Mr Rukonge seemed to read from the same script. Mr Kirenge said Tanzania could enjoy abundant potential in agriculture if policies and laws were consistent.
“It is estimated that 60 per cent of virgin land is available in Africa, with Tanzania, Mozambique and Zambia alone accounting for 50 per cent of it,” he noted. Food and Agricultural Organisation (Fao) representative to Tanzania, Fred Kafeero, said political will was of paramount importance for Tanzania to bolster productivity in the agricultural sector. “
The government needs to put an eye on areas that will contribute to the realisation of the sector’s potential. This can only be if it takes into consideration raising the sector’s budget, which is currently inadequate,” suggested Mr Kafeero. He challenged the government to create an environment that would convince both local and foreign investors consider Tanzania as the best destination for investments.
Agricultural Council of Tanzania (ACT) executive director Timoth Mmbaga said it was high time massive investments were made on storage facilities. He said despite plentiful potentials in horticulture, the business has not benefited many because of unfavourable infrastructure.
“We don’t have enough cold-storage facilities for horticultural products,” he said, calling on private sector to take an advantage of it to invest in the area.
Sokoine University of Tanzania (Sua) economist, researcher and advisor, Dr Anna Temu, called for assured markets, massive investments in technology and access to improved seeds and fertilizers.
To attract more investors in the sector, the director of policy and planning in the ministry of Agriculture, Mr Obey Assery, said the government has so far scrapped 105 charges on agricultural products.