MINISTER for Investment, Industry and Trade, Dr Ashatu Kijaji has called for concerted public and private sector action to make Tanzania the centre of Africa and the world food trade.
Dr Kijaji was addressing the Tanzania Agribusiness Investment Summit 2022 (TAI Summit 2022) that took place on Tuesday in Dar es Salaam, with the theme “Grow, Nourish, Reward – Bold Actions for Resilient Food Systems in Tanzania.”
She was the chief guest at the summit to coalesce a national plan to be presented at the Africa Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) 2022 Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, where President Samia Suluhu Hassan is expected to be a keynote speaker.
TAI Summit 2022 was organized jointly by three ministries –Ministry of Investment, Industry and Trade, Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries. The Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) also worked closely with the three ministries in staging the event.
It attracted delegates from the public and private sectors as well as civil society and development partners. AGRA Vice-President, Dr Apollos Nwafor led the AGRA delegation to this summit which was marked as the launch of the 2022 Agribusiness Deal room to be held in Kigali, Rwanda.
Dr Kijaji said Tanzania’s vision is to be a global food supplier and the market leader in agro-industrialization in Africa. She said the achievement would be realized with the public and private sectors working together to benefit smallholder farmers.
She called on firms to pitch their agribusinesses at AGRF-supported African Agribusiness deal rooms to grow the sector.
“We want to serve Africa from Tanzania; we want to serve the world from Tanzania through the agricultural sector,” she said.
She noted that President Samia Suluhu Hassan approved the most significant annual agriculture budget ever in the history of Tanzania, from 294bn/- in the 2021/2022 financial year to 954bn/- in the current fiscal year.
Dr Kijaji said the vision was for Tanzania to provide local, continental and global food security with the nation’s immense God-given resources.
AGRA Vice-President, Policy and State Capability, Dr Apollos Nwafor, commended Tanzania for prioritizing food systems transformations and assured that AGRA would continue to support government efforts to uplift the sector.
He commended the country for spearheading agro-industrialization vision through the design and implementation of the Tanzania Agro-industrialization Development Flagship (TAIDF), which aims at mobilizing investments in agro-industrialization.
“President Samia has shown outstanding commitment to creating a sustainable food system in Tanzania,” he said. He commended Tanzania for being ready to make agriculture the driver of economic growth.
“I have seen evidence of that in the number of things Tanzania has proved not only feeding itself, but feeding the entire region,” he noted.
“Last year in 2021, the president of AGRA, Dr Agnes Kalibata led the UN Food Systems Summit where we have charts. We began to look at Africa’s leadership in driving food system transformations where we looked at regions, especially Tanzania on which food systems transformation has been accelerated drastically.”
“Today’s summit shows that Tanzania is ready to see and foster as a driver of economic growth. We should ensure we are not dependent on food imports. Statistics shows that the continent spends an average of 55 to 60 billion dollars annually on food imports. Countries like Tanzania have excess maize, rice and other crops, for instance, horticulture.”
The Summit also involved Tanzania business pitching at The African Agribusiness Deal room a year-round matchmaking platform at the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF), which brings together capital seekers and providers.
The Agribusiness Deal rooms provide entrepreneurs in the agricultural and agribusiness sectors with upstream and downstream supply chain linkages, access to finance, and market entry solutions to support their growth objectives.