TANZANIA is committed to the agricultural transformation agenda and improving the food system so that the country maintains food security.
Virtually addressing the just ended African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) 2021 Summit in Nairobi, Vice-President Dr Philip Mpango further said Tanzania has in place policies and strategies for continued agricultural growth.
Speaking on behalf of President Samia Suluhu Hassan, he said financing the sector was one of the priorities in the country, because Africa wants sustainable food supply to address current challenges in the systems.
Elaborating, Dr Mpango proposed that the issue requires professional consideration at the upcoming UN food systems summit in New York, September 23, 2021, adding that other issues Tanzania would like addressed at the UN summit would include ensuring more access to improved seeds, pest control, and increasing appropriate technology in agriculture and livestock development.
The Vice-President joined five African presidents at AGRF Summit to review and fast-track Africa’s food system transformation strategies. The five were: host Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya), Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Dr Lazarus Chakwera (Malawi), Yoweri Museveni (Uganda) and Hage Geingob of Namibia.
Others who attended included IFAD President Gilbert Houngbo, Josefa Sacko and the Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture at the Africa Union Commission, Salamatu Garba, the Senior Gender Specialist at UNDP-GEF Project and Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group.
In the course, Uhuru described the AGRF Summit as a platform for consolidating Africa’s voice in readiness for the UN Food Systems Summit (UN FSS) in New York.
“The UN FSS will bring together leaders from around the world to review the progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with notable attention on the eradication of hunger and poverty.
“The biggest outcomes that some of us are looking for at the AGRF Summit… is that we will work together as Africans and come up with a common position to table UN Food Systems Summit,” he pointed out.
AGRA Tanzania Country Manager Vianey Rweyendela, commended Vice-President Dr Mpango’s participation at the AGRF summit, saying he represented Tanzania well.
“Tanzania is on the right direction in the road to food systems strengthening, which includes its consistent commitment to securing international markets for food commodities and sending out clear message,” he noted.
Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Professor Siza Tumbo, said the government is keen and attracting multiple investments and partnerships in market development, productivity enhancement and financing, solely to lift the agricultural sector into a largely industrialised niche.
He spoke on Tanzania government investment opportunities at the Deal Room in 2021 AGRF Summit, assuring the world that Tanzania has marked stability running from independence to the present, a favourable business climate for upscaling the agriculture sector take-off.
According to Prof Tumbo, the smallholder farmers have become more informed and able to increase productivity, thus providing raw materials to agro-industries ready to open up or scale up operations in the country. The government is actively in through public-private partnership promoting agro- industrialisation to enhance GDP and create employment opportunities for a rapidly growing population.
He further said the East Africa second-largest economy is already the region’s market leader in the grains trade, with maize and rice leading the pack, hence, a massive potential for a considerable increase due to favourable geographical base, which include the available ground and underground water for irrigation across the vast country.
Tanzania agricultural investment blueprints include Agriculture Sector Development Programme Phase II (ASDP II), Tanzania Livestock Master Plan and Agro industries development flagship (TAIDF), and calls for broad-based investments in the all-important sector.
The AGRF summit was organised by Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and invited speakers from across the world, including Tanzania that attended virtually due to Covid-19 restrictions.