AGRA launches strategy to amplify agricultural markets in TZ

IN a push towards transforming Tanzania’s agricultural sector, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has unveiled a strategic five-year plan, designed to enhance competitive and inclusive markets.

This progressive initiative is set to enhance competitive and inclusive markets, benefiting an estimated three million Tanzanian farmers directly.

Addressing the audience at the launch, Chair of the Presidential Food and Agriculture Council and former Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda, acknowledged Tanzania’s significant progress, highlighting the prevailing peace throughout the nation.

However, he also candidly acknowledged the persisting issue of poverty in rural villages.

“While Tanzania has made great strides, we must continue combatting income poverty and giving food systems the prominence they deserve.

“We have the land; we have all that is needed. We need to prioritise the development and improvement of food systems to create sustainable livelihoods and uplift rural communities,” he said.

Mr Pinda also expressed confidence in AGRA’s positive history in Tanzania and the potential impact, hoping these initiatives will go a long way in addressing the challenges.

On his part, Minister for Livestock and Fisheries Abdallah Ulega noted: “In our pursuit of enhanced food systems, we must appreciate the triad of crop farming, livestock farming, and fisheries. Their collective significance is the key to our food security.”

AGRA’s Regional Head, East Africa, Prof Jean Jacques Muhinda said: “The strategic plan we are launching today is our third cycle of investment in the country. Out of the 11 countries supported in the last Strategy (2017-2022), Tanzania, together with Burkina Faso in West Africa, are the two countries that received the highest resources.”

“We wish to match resources and co-invest together in areas of market development, building resilience of farming systems, creation of work opportunities for youth and women, access to finance by value chain actors, trade of agricultural commodities domestically and regionally.”

He said achieving food systems transformation in Tanzania is possible. “It only requires partnerships, synergies, leveraging on each other, and a shared vision.”

Minister of Agriculture Hussein Bashe, represented by the docket’s Permanent Secretary, Mr Gerald Mweli said: “Tanzania aims to become the food granary for Africa and the rest of the world.

“We are committed to unlocking the agriculture sector’s potential, which currently contributes 25 per cent of our GDP and is a major foreign exchange earner and source of jobs and wealth. The government has prioritised the sector to create more livelihoods, while ensuring that youth and women are included,” he said.

The AGRA Tanzania Country Strategy aims to enhance productivity and promote employment opportunities for women and youth in the agricultural value chain. The strategy will tackle four key business lines: seed systems, sustainable farming, inclusive markets and trade, as well as policy and state capability.

The strategy sets forth plans to enhance the agricultural markets by fostering value addition and boosting trade proficiency.

It’s projected that this will benefit three million farmers nationwide by giving them access to these improved product markets.

The implementation of the activities will primarily concentrate on key regions, namely the Western Highlands, Central Region, Southern Highlands, Northern Highlands, and Zanzibar.

The initiative will focus primarily on vital crops such as maize, sorghum, beans, cassava, sunflower, soybean, wheat, potato, and various horticultural crops.

The launch of the new strategy comes as Tanzania prepares to host the Africa Food Systems Forum 2023 (AGRF) from September 4th – 8th this year in Dar es Salaam. AGRF is Africa’s premier platform for advancing the agriculture and food systems agenda.

The summit will bring together a diverse group of stakeholders, leaders, policymakers, scientists, heads of governments, private institutions, farmers, and youth, to agree on practical solutions for Africa’s food systems.

Africa remains a net food importer and the food import bill will continue to rise without action from 43 billion US dollars in 2019 to 110 billion US dollars in 2025.

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