FEEDING AFRICA: Samia outlines strategies We have made

PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan has detailed steps Tanzania takes to ensure there is food sufficiency and achieve its goal of becoming Africa’s food basket.

She stated that the government has begun to invest strategically in key areas, such as increasing productivity by ensuring that farmers use quality seeds and receive fertilisers and pesticides on time, as well as ensuring that young people are prioritised in investment and agricultural reform in the country through the Building Better Tomorrow (BBT) programme.

President Samia said: “We have made investments in research, opened up new markets for food crops internationally, built irrigation infrastructure that considers climate change, and created an integrated environment for the private sector to participate in the value chain in agriculture and reduce crop loss.”

Outlining the steps yesterday at State House in Dar es Salaam during the inauguration of the Africa Food System Forum 2023 (AGRF), the President said Tanzania has also started focusing on other food crops like wheat, oil, and sugar that the country is not self-sufficient.

The Head of State also stated that there is a comprehensive plan in place to ensure that all wheat fields are revitalised and modernised, and that edible oil crops such as palm and coconut are given preference through the BBT programme.

Dr Samia said that the deficit in sugar production, which currently stands at only 30 tonnes, will continue to shrink over the course of the following year as new facilities are built and existing ones are expanded to improve output. The production of industrial sugar will be given more attention thereafter.

“This is the government’s goal to become self-sufficient in food and become Africa’s food basket, and by 2030, through Agenda 10/30, we reach the goal of the agricultural sector contributing 30 per cent to national income,” she said.

She stated that a block/cluster farming programme will be launched in Dodoma next Monday for crops that are in limited supply across the nation.

“We’ll start with 812 youths by enlisting them in training, and if they graduate, we’ll give them their title deeds so they can begin working on fields that have irrigation infrastructure already installed,” said Dr Samia.

President Samia also emphasised the need to effectively manage the agricultural sub-sector that includes the environment, and climate change, which are now not being adequately managed.

On AGRF, she said through the platform, producers, investors, famous people in the world and more than 3,000 businessmen will discuss how to develop the agricultural sector, promote tourism, business and investment opportunities in the country and African continent.

She says the step will contribute to increased investment in the agricultural sector, promote tourism, and improve markets and technology for Tanzania and Africa as a whole.

She also used the opportunity to launch the Presidential Food and Agriculture Delivery Bureau in which former Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda will lead it, with three council members, and three individuals as members of its secretariat.

The formation of such councils is part of the agreement reached at the Dakar 2 Summit on Feed Africa: Food Sovereignty and Resilience that took place in Dakar, Senegal, from January 25-27 this year.

Members of the council include Chair of AGRA and the AGRF Partners Group, Hailemariam Desalegn, Chief Executive Officer for Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) Centre Limited, Geoffrey Kirenga and Andrew Masawe, retired Permanent Secretary.

Members of the council secretariat includes Dr Florence Turuka retired Permanent Secretary and lecturer at Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), Dr Jacqueline Mkindi Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Tanzania Horticulture Association (TAHA) and Dr Mwatima Juma Chairperson of Tanzania Organic Agricultural Movement (TOAM).

Amath Sene, AGRF Managing Director said the common goal this year is to organise the best ever AGRF with the highest leadership representation but more important giving priority, space to the participation of youth and women.

Mr Sene said they want this year to go beyond a standalone event and leave a legacy for youths and women for years to come across the continent and Tanzania.

Previously known as the Africa Green Revolution Conference the Forum evolved to become the African Green Revolution Forum. Last year it was re-branded to AGRF.

“Over the years the forum has accumulated significant convening power which is used to move the continent agenda and setting the agriculture agenda food system strategic partnership investment but more importantly sharing experience across the continent but we still need to do more feeding our people and creating more employment opportunities,” he said.

Slated to take place from September 5-8, 2023 in Dar es Salaam, the summit will bring together top leaders, thinkers, and implementers in African food and agriculture.

Minister for agriculture, Hussein Bashe said Tanzania has 29 million hectares of arable land ready for investors.

The AGRF, Africa’s Food Systems Forum, is the premier platform for advancing the agriculture and food systems agenda on the continent; from food security to agri-food investments.

The annual summit convenes leaders, policymakers, scientists, heads of governments and private institutions, farmers, and the youth in the agriculture and food systems landscape to discuss and agree on practical actions and solutions that drive Africa’s food security and better livelihoods for all.

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