Africa: Tanzanian govt to establish small and medium-sized agro-processing industries to boost export value of crops
As part of efforts aimed at adding value to crops before they are exported, Tanzanian government has embarked on an initiative to establish small and medium-sized agro-processing industries across the country. According to The Citizen, President Samia Suluhu Hassan also pledged government support to farmers, including the development of water irrigation schemes, the provision of affordable seeds, and subsidised fertilisers, with the aim of ensuring sufficient crop production for local consumption and export.
These measures are intended to assist farmers in transitioning from subsistence farming to cultivating commercial crops. “We are shifting our focus from subsistence farming to commercial agriculture. Maize, rice, groundnuts, and others are all now considered commercial crops,” President Hassan explained. In another development, President Hassan revealed that contractors were currently working in villages to extend the electricity supply, with plans to cover hamlets as well, aiming to electrify the entire country by the end of the year.
While acknowledging challenges faced, including the need for improved road infrastructure and access to clean water, President Hassan affirmed that the government would concentrate on executing projects within allocated budgets while seeking additional funding for new initiatives whenever necessary.
On the subject of social services, she highlighted the government’s efforts to build schools nationwide and provide educational materials. But she said parents were responsible for school uniforms and lunch for their children. She also pointed out that the government will continue subsidising fertilisers. Currently, the government covers Sh70,000 in every 50-kilos bag to enable farmers to buy fertilisers at the uniform price of Sh60,000 wherever they are in the country.
During her visit to an irrigation scheme in Nzega, the minister for Agriculture Hussein Bashe, explained that the 1102-hectare farm utilised pivot technology for irrigation. Of this, 400 hectares constituted phase one, valued at Sh2 billion, with a total catchment area of 140 hectares and a 97-hectare reservoir. Out of this, only 860 hectares were suitable for irrigation, with plans to install 14 pivots to be used to produce improved seeds.
Mr Bashe stressed the need for increased seed production in the country, aiming for self-sufficiency. Presently, both the government and private farms collectively produce 44,000 tonnes of seeds, including imports, falling short of the required 120,000 tonnes. The government aims to reach 75,000 tonnes by 2025 and achieve complete self-sufficiency by 2030. Meanwhile, Nzega Rural Member of Parliament Hamisi Kigwangalla requested that President Samia consider upgrading Nzega district to a region. He also emphasised the need to improve the Puge-Ndala road to tarmac level to facilitate the transportation of crops to markets.