Private sector will give agriculture sector a new push

Private sector will give agriculture sector a new push

It needs to be conducted scientifically, through application of modern technology such as use of tractors and move away from rain fed to irrigation farming. This calls for heavy investment in agriculture sector, in which case it will be very difficult for local peasant farmers to afford.

There are several cases when modern technology has been applied and the agriculture yields are quite impressive. The sugar plantations in Kilombero and Kagera are a case in point. Tanzania is blessed with fertile arable land, rivers and lakes with abundance water and human resource that can play a big role in revitalizing the agricultural sector, given the necessary support. The political will is already there that stipulates agriculture is the back bone of the country’s economy.  Involvement of the private sector will help realise the government’s commitment to transform the agricultural sector.

The allocation of big tracks of potential agricultural land in Mbeya, Rukwa, Iringa, Ruvuma, Morogoro and Kigoma is an indication that the government is committed to transform from subsistence agriculture to profit making andeavour. The status of the sector in most developing countries, is still wanting. For it is faced with host of challenges. Despite the fact that large tracks of land are arable and fertile, it has not been utilized for the benefit of the people. It is largely primitive in many aspects. Majority of our people, particularly in rural areas, depend on the back-breaking hand hoe.

It is unfortunately that women bear the brunt of this burden. They account for over 85 per cent of the people engaged in subsistence agriculture but produce over 60 per cent of the staple food and 30 per cent of the exports. The statement by President Jakaya Kikwete on the need for the participation of the private sector to boost agriculture in the African continent has come at the right time. Addressing the conference of agriculture ministers from seven African countries in Dar es Salaam on Friday, Kikwete underscored the importance of agriculture for the continent’s economic development.

But he went ahead as pointing out challenges facing the sector. It is dominated by small scale farmers who lack the knowledge on modern farming, access to modern technology and topped up by climatic changes that have been unpredictable in recent years. We need to pick up from what the President told the African agriculture ministers whose conference outcome will be part of the agenda for the G8 Summit slated for Chicago, USA, in May this year.

Africans need to unite and speak with one voice when it comes to engagement with the industrialized nations bent on buying agricultural products for their industries cheaply and sell back finished products at dear prices. It is only when they strengthen cooperation among themselves, trade within their regional blocks under the south-south cooperation initiative that they will see the fruits of their products, including agricultural products. Knowledge on modern land use for subsistence farmers is important. We are saying based on the fact that knowledge is power. Out farmers need this to be able to, not only move away from traditional farming but get confidence to negotiate when it comes to involvement of the private sector.

There have been cases in several parts of the country where investors in agriculture had been involved at logger heads with local farmers for fear that their land was being confiscated. Timely and transparent communication will help clear such misunderstandings. As the President rightly said, participant of private sector will help boost clusters of agribusiness in which small scale farmers will be incorporated.

The latter stands better chance of accessing support for purchase of modern farm input, knowledge on large scale irrigation farming as well as markets for their produce. It is only through this way that both parties can co-exist in harmony and work towards a common goal of ensuring food security and ultimately alleviate poverty that has been besetting our people for a long time. 

Investors, come en masse Tanzania doors are opened

WHILE gracing the Tanzania Day ...

Author: EDITOR

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