Hopes high as AGRF approaches

DAR ES SALAAM : THE government and agriculture stakeholders have expressed high hopes over benefits to come with the forthcoming Africa Food Systems 2023 Summit in Dar es Salaam.

The five-day event will kick off on Monday next week and will be hosted by President Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan and the AGRF Partners Group.

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Gerald Mweli, stated on Tuesday that the summit will trigger more businesses in agriculture sector since global manufacturers of agriculture inputs and businesspeople in the sector will attend.

“We have invited big companies; this will offer opportunities to our businesspeople in the country to market their businesses in the global platform and learn from them.

“We encourage Tanzanian businesspeople in the agriculture value chain to participate in the forum so as to get familiar with the available opportunities and exploit them,” Permanent Secretary Mweli urged.

He was speaking during an interview with journalists after he inspected preparations at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre (JNICC), where the forum will be held.

“Since Tanzania strives to become the food and agricultural services centre in the region, this conference is yet another impetus towards achieving the goal,” he remarked.

He further said that since Tanzania looks forward to launching its fertiliser industry for selling within and outside the country, the next AGRF will be an ideal platform for seeking foreign markets for the Tanzanian fertilisers.

Speaking about the progress of the AGRF preparations, he said so far, four Heads of State have confirmed to attend, including Kenyan President William Ruto, Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema and Zimbabwean Emmerson Mnangagwa.

“The number may increase as we continue receiving confirmation,” he stated.

Apart from the presidents, the expected ministers have confirmed by 80 per cent while on the part of participants the number of those who have confirmed so far has exceeded the target.

The target was 3,000 participants, but until yesterday afternoon the number of people who confirmed was above the target.

“This big number shows their trust in our country, specifically efforts by President Samia in marketing the country internationally,” Mr Mweli noted.

National Coordinator of the Tanzania Alliance for Biodiversity (TABIO), Mr Abdallah Mkindi, commented that he expects the AGRF will discuss agriculture at a bigger picture for its development.

“I think that the Green Revolution will be at the centre stage because it needs huge investments in agriculture, but in most of African countries investments are still low,” Mr Mkindi argued.

He was also of the view that the forum will showcase various opportunities that Tanzanians have to run for while considering Tanzanian context.

The 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.

The 2023 Summit aspires to position Africa as the place for innovation, investments and to advance a stronger, more diverse and resilient food system.

The Summit will look to energise and spotlight continental progress beyond the call for aid.

The Summit will also showcase Africa’s solutions to Africa’s food systems transformation while spotlighting leadership, accountability, inclusion and investment opportunities in Africa in general and in Tanzania in particular.

The AGRF Partners Group is made up of 26 leading actors, including the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

The AGRA is a proudly African-led institution focused on scaling agricultural innovations that help smallholder farmers towards increased incomes, better livelihoods and improved food security.

Between 2017-2021, AGRA catalysed 1.4 billion US dollars in investment, 11 million farmers reached directly and 26 million farmers reached through policy, state capability and partnerships work.

Other AGRF partners are Bayer AG, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), CGIAR System Organisation, Corteva Agriscience, Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN).

The list also has the government of Rwanda, Grow Africa (AUDA-NEPAD), Heifer International, IKEA Foundation, International Development Research Centre (IDRC), International Fund  for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Mastercard Foundation, OCP Group, Rockefeller Foundation, Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU), Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), Syngenta Foundation, The Tony Blair Institute, UPL Limited, US Agency for International Development (USAID) and Yara International ASA.

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