Mpango: Finance youth, women led agribusinesses

THE Vice-President Dr Philip Mpango has urged African countries to put in place measures that will increase access to financing for rural youth enterprises and women-led agribusiness initiatives, to fast-track food system transformation.

He made the call on Tuesday in Kigali Rwanda at the on-going Africa Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) 2022 Summit that brought together stakeholders in the agricultural landscape to take practical actions and share lessons that will move African agriculture forward.

Dr Mpango is attending the summit on behalf of President Samia Suluhu Hassan.

According to him, encouraging private sector and government leaders to get involved in agriculture themselves will hasten the transformation by serving as role models, providing them with first-hand knowledge, and influencing their decision-making.

“We also advocate prioritising funding for extension services and research and development to speed up the transformation. The investment should be used to enhance human resources, provide tools, research novel crops, and promote innovative adaptive technologies.

“It is essential to put in place mechanisms to allow farmer organisations and other non-governmental organisations to participate in policy creation and implementation,” said the VP.

In addition, Dr Mpango stated that Tanzania continues to implement a number of measures to strengthen the agricultural sector, such as the 10/30 agribusiness agenda, which aims to increase the sector’s annual growth rate to 10 per cent by 2030.

He said in order to accomplish this, the government continues to encourage both the public and private sectors to invest in agriculture, raise the agricultural budget, and use digital technology for planning, monitoring, and evaluating extension services, marketing, and payments.

Dr Mpango told the meeting that through regional partnerships such as the East African Community and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Tanzania has continued to simplify the value chain in the agricultural sector by removing various tariffs and non-formal barriers, removing barriers to export of crops and ensuring access to information for partner countries in the trade.

AGRF Summit runs until Friday under the theme ‘Grow. Nourish. Reward. Bold Actions for Resilient Food Systems’.

Discussions centres around how Africa can successfully navigate the crises currently affecting the global food supply chain and ensure that African governments can mobilise investment and accelerate commitments to deliver a food secure continent.

The summit intends to address bottlenecks hindering development of strong food systems, while highlighting approaches and initiatives that have worked across different markets.

AGRA’s Board Chair, and Chair of the AGRF Partners Group and former Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Dessalegn noted that the summit comes as the continent grapples with challenges in global food supply and effects of the pandemic that have undone gains in efforts to end hunger and build food security.

“Food systems transformation is key to economic transformation. We need to take bold actions urgently, this calls for new, stronger, innovative and strategic leadership to ensure that food systems are more resilient,” he said.

On the side line of the summit, Dr Mpango met with President of Rwanda Paul Kagame, President for International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Alvaro Lario and Mr Dessalegn.

The meeting aimed at increasing cooperation between Tanzania, other countries and IFAD for the purpose of developing various projects implemented with the aim of developing the country’s agricultural sector.

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