Attracting investment for agriculture value addition through the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) offers a huge potential for the sector’s transformation and enhancing its contribution to economic growth.
The Economic Processing Zone Authority (EPZA) Principal Investment Promotion Officer, Ms Nakadongo Fares said recently in an interview that value addition for agriculture products guarantees farmers of fetching high market prices thus boosting their earnings.
“SEZs are important platforms for agriculture transformation, they guarantee reliable markets to farmers and boost the sector’s contribution to economic growth,” she noted.
Ms Fares said currently, industries specialising in agriculture value chain have been taking the leading area of investment under the EPZA, thus contributing largely to the sector’s growth that provides jobs to over 70 per cent of the country’s workforce.
“Agriculture value addition is one of the areas that have hugely attracted investors,” she said adding, agriculture has a huge role to play in the country’s industrialisation, offering the possibility of providing markets for industrial products and raw materials for industries.
She said EPZA provide developers of the SEZ with fiscal and non-fiscal incentives in the form of tax exemptions, VAT on utilities, local government levies, import duty on raw materials and capital goods as well as on construction materials.
Investors investing in the SEZ system are to export 80 per cent of their produce, while 20 per cent may be sold to the local market.
Also, the good news here is that EPZA helps not only with land access, but also connecting farmers with international markets all over the world and hence, assurance of market
The incentives provided by the EPZA have helped to entice investors whereby now 40 out of 97 per cent of agricultural-related industries are found within SEZ dealing with farming and agricultural processing.
In total, all of the 97 industries found in SEZ have 1.3tri/- capital that provided jobs to 20,015 Tanzanians in the period of 2016 to 2021.
EPZA, therefore, lured local and foreign investors to take advantage of farming and processing of agricultural products for selling to local and international markets as it was easier to access raw materials, and manpower and export them.
The government through EPZA has slated land of more than 500 hectares in all 26 regions of Tanzania’s mainland slated specifically for SEZ mainly focusing on agricultural investment projects.
“We call upon local and foreign investors to take advantage of this opportunity to invest in agriculture value addition through the SEZ,” she said.