Govt stresses reducing agriculture production costs

DAR ES SALAAM: THE government has underscored the necessity of reducing production costs in agriculture, particularly by encouraging more local production of farm inputs.

Among other measures, the government said more emphasis would be attracting more investors to invest in the country.

Minister for Agriculture Mr Hussein Bashe, disclosed this commitment on Monday during a meeting with local investors in Dar es Salaam.

The meeting was also attended by the Minister for Finance, Mwigulu Nchemba, and the Minister for Planning and Investment, Prof Kitila Mkumbo.

Mr Bashe also emphasised the importance of empowering small-scale farmers, who make up 72 per cent of farmers nationwide, so as to expand the agricultural sector in the country.

He highlighted the need to formalise the small-scale farmers and empower them to produce commercially.

He said the government is committed to addressing issues such as postharvest loss, poor packaging and lack of insurance for farmers.

“Our intention is not only to promote investment but also to encourage local and quality investment,” stated Mr Bashe.

Prof Mkumbo also said that in order to achieve economic growth, the government must support local investors in agriculture and reduce regulatory barriers that hinder their access to loans.

He argued that overregulation creates poverty and emphasised the importance of creating a conducive business environment for investors.

“Overregulation is a poverty creator. If we want to address poverty properly, we must deal with overregulation in business. We want to formalise our business and tackle the issue of overregulation,” said Prof Mkumbo.

Furthermore, Prof Mkumbo stated that the government aims to provide a favourable investment environment for investors in agriculture, enabling them to accumulate wealth and contribute to tax payment.

Dr Nchemba expressed the government’s commitment to increasing the budget for agriculture.

He also mentioned plans to revive the export credit guarantee scheme and promote the production of import substitution products to reduce imports.

He noted that the government intends to increase capital in banks involved in the agricultural sector, such as the Agricultural Bank and the Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank (TADB), along with other banks.

“We will continue to increase the budget and the credit guarantee scheme. We currently have approximately 600bn/- to 700bn/- to begin with, and we will further increase capital in banks involved in these production sectors,” said Dr Nchemba.

“Increasing exports is a very important component to strengthen our economy because it is what determines the strength of our currency. The value of the currency is determined by what we sell and what we import now. One of the strategic sectors that we rely on is agriculture.”

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