The projection is contained in the new East Africa Food Security Plan where trading among each other would grow among Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi from the current 10 per cent to 30 per cent.
However, the Secretary General of East African Communty, Dr Richard Sezibera said over the weekend in Arusha that the challenge remains having policies which don’t talk to each other. He also said that there was in place a plan of shared production strategies, giving an example, of a $20m storage facility being built by Yara International at the Dar es Salaam port.
“This is a boon to such trade because this will not be used by Tanzania alone but by Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi,” he said, The multi-national fertiliser company started building a warehouse at the Dar es Salaam Port this year when the government approved the over 20 million US dollars (about 30bn/-) project to build the warehouse to serve the local and regional fertilizer markets.
He said Dar es Salaam is the gateway for a number of landlocked countries, most of which are fertilizer insufficient. He said Yara International presently supplies 120,000 tonnes of fertilizer annually to Tanzania and neighbouring countries, but the installation of this facility would increase the quantities to meet the growing demand.
The new terminal will have a revolving storage capacity of 45,000 tonnes of fertilizer, which will be sufficient for the medium term requirements. The project is a result of President Kikwete’s visit at Yara’s Headquarters in Norway in 2007, where he invited the group to invest in Tanzania.
Dr Sezireba added, “The East Africa Association of farmers has already approached his office asking for help to trade more across borders. He also called for the establishment of an EA Commodity Exchange Facility that would be shared by all the five countries. He added that there is need to bring the facebook generation into agriculture. He said having a continental free trade area is something that would hugely support Africa’s agricultural trade.