TANZANIA and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on Thursday signed a loan agreement worth 10 billion Japanese Yen (equivalent to 172.2 bn/-) for the implementation of the Tanzania Agricultural Input Support Project (TAISP).
The signing of the document was held in Dar es Salaam between the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance Dr Natu Mwamba and Japanese Ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Yasushi Misawa.
Elaborating, she noted that the project will improve the production and productivity of priority crops.
Dr Mwamba said the amount will be used in priority crops including rice, wheat and sunflower, especially to purchase inputs of seeds and fertilisers to smallholder farmers in the target areas, and contribute to strengthening the resilience of the food system and enhancing the food security and nutrition.
She said the supported projects are in line with the Five Year Development Plan 2021/22 – 2025/26 with the theme of realising competitiveness and industrialisation for human development which aims at increasing efficiency and productivity using the available resources.
Dr Mwamba further said that the project will be implemented in Arusha, Dodoma, Morogoro, Manyara, Kilimanjaro, Dodoma, Singida, Morogoro, Tabora, Songwe, Mbeya, Njombe, Shinyanga, Mwanza, Geita, Simiyu, and Katavi regions.
In a related development, JICA has also provided an additional financing of 150 million Japanese Yen equivalent to (2.6bn/-) to be extended for Economic and Social Development Programme, adding that the scheme is aimed at reviving Tanzania Fisheries Company (TAFICO).
“The grant funds will add to 200 million Japanese Yen grant estimated as 3.5bn/- which were committed by the government of Japan through the exchange of notes signed on 27th December 2019- thus making a total of 350 million Yen (6.1bn/-) for implementation of the Economic and Social Development Programme,” she said.
The additional funds through the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries are provided to cover the financing gap for the implementation of the programme.
Dr Mwamba noted that the project is co-financed with African Development Bank (AfDB) to the tune of 75.5 million US dollars (174.9 bn/-) under the soft loan agreement which was signed on 18th August 2022.
The Permanent Secretary said that Tanzania benefits from Japan’s support, mostly in areas of the agriculture, water, health and energy, transportation, urban development, good financial governance as well as education through capacity building.
On his part Japanese Ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Misawa said that his country through the JICA will continue to cooperate with Tanzania in various sectors including the blue economy, capacity building, and agricultural as well as business environment improvement.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, Prof Riziki Shemdoe said the funds will enable TAFICO to buy a 22-meter long fishing vessel and purchase two vehicles.
In addition, he said the project will build a cold warehouse for storing fish, purchase and installation of ice plants and executed in one year from now.
On his part the Ministry of Agriculture, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Dr Hussein Mohamed Omar said that the funds will help to implement the project to facilitate access to agricultural inputs and bring relief to Tanzanians.
Dr Omar said the agricultural sector has a great contribution to the country’s economy as in 2021 it contributed 26.1 per cent to the national income (GDP).
“Agricultural sector contributes 65 per cent of employment in the country and 65 per cent of industrial products,” said Omar.
However, Omar said the agricultural sector was faced with various challenges including the effects of Covid-19, the war between Ukraine and Russia as well as climate change.
Dr Omar said to deal with the challenges the government established Tanzania Agricultural Inputs Support Project which will help to facilitate the production of food crops in the country by strengthening the production systems to deal with the effects of climate change, covid-19 and Ukraine-Russia war.