THE government has lifted ban on maize export after bumper harvests last season boosted supply of the food crop far beyond what the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) can buy.
Launching Agricultural Policy workshop organised by Agricultural Council of Tanzania (ACT), in Dar es Salaam on Monday, the Minister for Agriculture, Japhet Hasunga said that the government in cooperation with the private sector is doing everything possible to connect farmers with markets in neighbouring countries and beyond.
“The country has surplus food especially maize after harvesting up to 125 per cent in the last season. Our ambassadors are helping in searching for markets in needy countries like South Sudan, DR Congo, and Malawi.
We will then inform the private sector on how many tonnes are needed in a given country for shipping them.” He said government intention in the near future is to add value in all agricultural produce before exporting so as to boost industrial development and employment creation.
“Agriculture directly employs 65 per cent of the population while other 8 per cent is benefiting indirectly through business, there is no way this sector can be ignored in industrial drive.
Agro-processing industries means value addition, increased price and motivation to produce more.” He called on ACT to motivate other stakeholders to engage in farming crops which are attracting foreign market like cassava, whose demand is higher than what the country is currently producing.
The Chairman of the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF), Hamza Shamte said with clear determination agroprocessing industries are possible and affordable.
For example, small sized maize milling machines cost 3m/- only, therefore farmers should focus on setting up their own plants,” he said.
Jolenta Joseph from Sokoine University Graduate company limited (SUGECO) said that every dietary challenge facing the society is a precious opportunity for young people to take advantage of. She insisted that a productive nation needs healthy people who are well fed where agriculture is the main source of food.
“When we hear of malnutrition or deficiency of some vitamins like the case of children, means someone has a market for that.”
ACT’s annual general meeting with a theme; Agriculture and Industrial Development in Tanzania aimed at bringing all important agricultural stakeholders in exploring and utilising opportunities available towards industrial drive.
As of 2016, Tanzania had over 44 million hectares of arable land with only 33 per cent of this amount in cultivation.
The country receives average rainfall seasons annually with a good number of water bodies that can support irrigation agriculture.