THE Tanzania National Business Council’s task force on agriculture, fisheries and livestock development on Friday reviewed progress made in adding value to farm, fisheries and livestock products with the aim of enabling Tanzania access foreign and local markets easily.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, the Chairman of the task force, Mr Gerald Kusaya, said adding value to products in the three sectors was important in producing quality produce within the country and in getting reliable local and foreign markets.
Mr Kusaya, who is also permanent secretary in the ministry of agriculture, said the task force would meet private sector stakeholders in the agricultural sector in order to create a conducive environment that would promote reforms in the sector.
He said the task force had to ensure earnest involvement of the private sector in agricultural production as Tanzania moved towards becoming a middle-income industrial nation by 2025.
“There have been serious challenges relating to storage after harvests, quality seeds and pesticides. We have resolved to eliminate these challenges in order to add value to agricultural produce and increase farmers’ income,” he said.
The chairman said the task force was keen on knowing the impact made by the empowerment money sent to districts to promote grassroots entrepreneurial projects run by youths and women.
The government, he explained, had for many years given district councils money to give to youth and women groups in soft loans to enable them engage in viable economic and agricultural ventures.
The TNBC Executive Secretary, Dr Godwill Wanga, said TNBC was committed to ensuring that the public sector and the private sector worked closely together in order to build an inclusive and empowering national economy that would speed up development.
He also said that the government was cooperating with the private sector in creating an enabling environment that was friendly to business and investment.
He added that the government had built reliable roads to facilitate quick movement of agricultural inputs and crops to local and external markets.
Dr Wanga said there was a need to establish cold rooms at airports and harbours to preserve farmers’ horticultural produce awaiting export.
Currently, he said, farmers incurred big losses because many horticultural products were spoiled for lack of storage facilities.
The Tanzania Mercantile Exchange (TMX) Chief Executive, Mr Godfrey Malekano, said they would continue to create a good and open environment in the crop marketing processes with the aim of ensuring that farmers got fair revenue from their investments.
He also pledged that the TMX would ensure farmers got reliable markets.
The reports of the task forces are sent to the TNBC secretariat for processing and are later submitted to the meeting of the national council that is chaired by the president of the United Republic of Tanzania.
Other TNBC task forces oversee development of tourism, industry, business environment and forestry.