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Radical change as nation woos investors to boost crop, livestock, fisheries value chain

TANZANIA is poised for radical change as the government has invited international investors to invest in projects that will add value to such key sectors as crop, livestock and fisheries to support an improved and friendly investment climate.

Addressing the 10th Annual Summit of the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Kigali, Rwanda, via video link from Dodoma, Deputy Minister for Agriculture Omary Mgumba said Tanzania was ready for catalytic investments in agriculture to push the nation into a more industrialized economy, capture the internal and external market, especially within the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) blocs and beyond. 

Agriculture is Tanzania’s mainstay of the economy currently contributing 28 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  According to the country’s 2020/21 budget, the private sector had invested about 3.7tri/- from 2015 to 2020 into the agriculture value chain particularly in tea, coffee, sisal, barley and rice.

“Tanzania offers one of the most attractive investment destinations in Africa,” said Mgumba, adding that the country has experienced an average real GDP increase of about 6 per cent in the last decade, and its economy is backed up by sufficient natural resources for raw materials.

“We have identified several major investment opportunities under the Agriculture Sector Development Programme Phase 2 (ASDP II), Livestock Master Plan and the Tanzania Agro- Industries Development Flagship (TAIDF),” Mgumba told the AGRF summit.

Tanzania, one of the six fastest growing economies in Africa, has unprecedented opportunities for investments in crop farming and related industries, thanks to a total of about 7.1 million hectares of high and medium potential land (2.3 and 4.8 million ha respectively) suitable for irrigation, supported by rivers, lakes, wetlands and aquifers, Mgumba explained.

He said value addition of primary products influences the pattern of economic growth in the EAC second-largest economy.   “We have a clear long and medium-term policy frame for the economy in general and the agriculture sector in particular,” he noted.

“We have put in place a friendly environment for investors. We are an island of peace. Very, importantly, we have put in place great infrastructure projects opening up great possibilities for local and international markets,” he said.

He assured the AGRF summit, attended by over 10,000 delegates online, that Tanzania has made great strides on economic and infrastructure development with the assurance of reliable electrical power in all urban areas and most of the rural areas, giving investors an added advantage.

The country’s agribusiness economy is highly viable at local, regional and international level in terms of the high market possibilities.  In over a decade, Tanzania has consistently managed to move beyond food self-sufficiency, thus it is ready for industrial development.

Being East Africa’s food security powerhouse, the country has myriad multi-billion-dollar investment opportunities in agriculture, livestock and fisheries; large- scale sugarcane and cotton ventures, deep-sea fishing, among others, minister Mgumba noted in his address to the AGRF summit.

He cited the example of the opportunity for large-scale farming for seeds multiplication. “The annual demand of certified seeds is 187,000 tonnes while available is 76,725 tonnes, local supply is 69,173 tonnes, the import is 7,552 tonnes, and traditional uncertified seeds is 110,274 tonnes,” he noted.

Tanzania also has opportunities for investment in chemical industries (fertilizer production) because the country has enough natural gas and phosphate deposits.

Recent policy changes in the livestock and fishing sectors (including deep-sea fishing) have greatly improved the investment climate and are in line with the ongoing implementation of the nation’s agriculture blueprint, ASDP II.

The government would continue to address challenges that might be hampering private-sector delivery, Mgumba noted, in the spirit of public-private partnership for the good of the country.

Investors in Tanzania are served by the one-stop Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) for all they need,  the centre’s Executive Director Dr Maduhu Kazi told the AGRF summit, speaking from Dar es Salaam, via video link.

“We welcome all kinds of investors including strategic investors in the agriculture sector… we have a very improved enabling environment,” he noted.

There are diverse opportunities for investments in the agriculture sector, ranging from the chemical industry (fertilizers and pesticides); to agro-processing fishing and livestock industries, and many others, he said.

AGRA Country Manager (Tanzania), Vianey Rweyendela, noted that the Tanzanian government has demonstrated a clear political will to make agro-industrialization happen in a big way.

“We’ve diverse and multiple investment opportunities for agro-industrialization in Tanzania.  Many strides have been made in agriculture sector development and the future is bright. All of these are possible because the current government has a clear political will to make agro-industrialization happen in a big way," Rweyendela noted.

He gave the example of an investment opportunity in maize.  “Maize is the most important food crop for us, and we are the largest producer of maize in East Africa, yet the crop is mostly used for porridge and ugali,” he noted. 

  “We need to industrialise the crop- make factories for producing corn oil,  animal feeds,  starch, among other products”, he continued.  “As one of the top producers of maize and cassava in Africa we should not be importing any starch, we should be exporting. It is a huge opportunity.” 

Dr Andrew M. Komba, the Director of Policy and Planning in the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries-Fisheries Sector, told the summit that there were many investment opportunities to be found in the sector.

We need investors in fish processing plants, fishery gears manufacturing (nets, boats etc), ecotourism along the beach, fishing of ornamental fish, aquaculture production (finfish, shrimps, crabs, seaweed etc) and production of aquaculture feed and seed. Other opportunities include cold chain facilities (transportation and storage), fishing Infrastructure (fishing ports, cold chain, fishing boats and vessels), fishing labs (Nyegezi in Mwanza and Dar es salaam),  supporting protection units as well as fishing infrastructure (fishing ports, cold chain, fishing boats and vessels).

The virtual summit began on September 8 and ended on Friday, September 11. In Tanzania, some delegates attended online at set centres in Dodoma, Dar es Salaam and Arusha.

Author: Staff Reporter

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