DAVOS, SWITZERLAND: VICE-PRESIDENT, Dr Philip Mpango, has called upon Norwegian fertiliser maker, Yara International to scale up investments in agricultural infrastructure in Tanzania to the agricultural value chain.
Speaking on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland yesterday, Dr Mpango called on Yara International to enhance its investments in irrigation systems, storage facilities and transportation networks in Tanzania.
“As we move forward with our partnership, there are other areas where we would like to suggest for you to scale up, one is agricultural infrastructure,” Dr Mpango stated during a meeting with Yara International leaders.
He stressed that relying solely on shifting cultivation would hinder the country’s progress.
Dr Mpango highlighted plans for improved water management, aiming to have a borehole for every farm in some regions. The government’s strategy includes expanding capacity-building initiatives for smallholder farmers to enhance farming techniques, productivity, and competitiveness.
“We are targeting to scale up capacity building for smallholder farmers to improve farming techniques, productivity, competitiveness, and support farmers who have already begun doing farmer-to-farmer learning,” Dr Mpango explained, citing successful examples under the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT).
Another crucial aspect, according to the Vice-President, is the need for value addition and better market access to increase returns for Tanzanian farmers and minimise post-harvest losses.
Dr Mpango underscored the importance of partners supporting agricultural research and development to improve crop varieties and promote climate-resilient agriculture.
He acknowledged existing agricultural research institutions but highlighted their limitations, suggesting that collaboration with partners could make a significant difference.
On behalf of the Tanzanian government, Dr Mpango assured Yara International of continued support for their operations in the country. The overarching agenda is to position Tanzania as a regional and global food granary.
“So, we are committed to improving soil health and agricultural productivity; this is critical to improving farm performance,” Dr Mpango affirmed.
Ms Fernanda Larsen, Executive Vice President for Africa, Asia, and Oceania at Yara International, responded positively, expressing commitment to Tanzania’s long-term vision for food system transformation.
She highlighted Yara International’s Africa 2030 strategy and their desire to partner with countries that share a similar vision.
“Our commitment is there; we have many success stories already, as well as digital success stories in which through that we have been able to offer our support. For the future, we would love to scale up and do more initiatives in the country that will ultimately help farmers, so you have my commitment,” Ms Larsen asserted.
Meanwhile, Dr Mpango has invited the Global Plastic Action Partnership (GPAP) to cooperate with the country in controlling plastic waste.
The invitation was the result of the sideline meetings attended by Dr Mpango in Switzerland with the Director for GPAP, Ms Clemence Schmid.
In the conversation, the Vice-President invited the institution to cooperate with Tanzania in dealing with plastic waste, including conducting research that will enable the identification of the type of plastic waste found along the sea and in land areas to help prepare a strategy to deal with these challenges.
Dr Mpango also underscored the significance of preparing an international forum on the processing of plastic waste that will enable local waste management and international waste management companies to discuss and gain experience from the companies.
He also invited GPAP to cooperate with Tanzania in controlling plastic waste, especially in Dodoma by starting projects that will facilitate plastic waste processing and separation.
In a related development, Dr Mpango also held talks with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Mr Demeke Mekonnen Hassen.
According to the statement issued by the Vice President’s Office (VPO, the talks aimed to strengthen cooperation between the country and Ethiopia in economic and diplomatic matters.
The Davos 2024 entails four key themes including achieving security and cooperation in a fractured World, Creating Growth and jobs for a new era, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a driving force for the economy and society.
Another is a long-term strategy for climate, nature and energy whereby under this theme, the speakers will discuss how to develop a long-term systemic approach to achieve the objectives of a carbon-neutral and nature-positive world by 2050.