ON Wednesday Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Minister, Prof Palamagamba Kabudi, said Tanzania needed to revolutionise agriculture if we wanted to achieve and sustain industrial development envisioned by 2025.
He was speaking in Dar es Salaam to bid farewell to students, who were leaving for Israel for capacity building studies in agriculture. In Tanzania, the sector of agriculture employs the majority of Tanzanians.
Thus, it has the potential to develop more and more if there is adequate investment in terms of adequate budget and optimal use of technology.
It is a good opportunity for Tanzanian students to go and study in Israel so that when they return home they will be more equipped with modern farming methods that will facilitate agricultural revolution.
This will help also uplift the lives of the majority people and make the youth in particular interested in modern and productive farming.
So, there is an inextricable link between agricultural production and industrial development.
This means that improvement in agriculture will lead to improvement in industrial development and in the lives of Tanzanians.
There are many things we can learn from Israel in terms of agricultural revolution, especially in proper utilisation of agricultural technologies to increase crop yield and create food security.
More than half of Israel’s land is desert. The climate and lack of water resources do not favour agriculture. Yet, Israel is a major exporter of fresh produce and a world-leader in agricultural technologies.
With only 20 per cent of Israel’s natural arable land, the country produces enough for domestic consumption and export. With only 3.7 per cent of the workforce in 2008, for instance, Israel produced 95 per cent of its own food requirements, supplementing it with imports of grain, oilseeds, meat, coffee, cocoa and sugar.
What a great leap of production! As regards dairy production, Israel’s local cows produce the highest amount of milk per animal in the world.
Not only that, Israel is also one of the world’s leading fresh fruits and vegetable producers and exporters.
Therefore, there is a lot we can learn from Israel’s agricultural technologies and apply them home to help our country climb the ladder of agricultural development we have been longing for years. Unlike Israel, Tanzania has plenty of arable land and a favourable climate.
Therefore, there is the likelihood to develop the sector of agriculture to match an industrial and middle-income economy we envision becoming.
If we have enough food to feed our people and sell the surplus, obviously we will have also enough raw materials to feed our industries.
All this needs adequate investment in capacity building and agricultural technologies. Yes, we can revolutionise agriculture if we really want.