TIC drums up support for agriculture
03 September 2010, DAILY NEWS
TANZANIA’S economy cannot reach the growth rate of 8 to 10 per cent per annum without significant investment and improvement to boost the agriculture sector, according to the Chief Executive Director of Tanzania Investment Center (TIC), Mr Emmanuel Ole Naiko.
“No amount of investment and increased production in manufacturing, mining or tourism will be sufficient to lift an economy which depends on agriculture for over 40 per cent of its GDP, unless there is also improvement in agriculture,” he pointed out.
Mr Emmanuel Ole Naiko was speaking during the Annual Engineers Day discussing Kilimo Kwanza in Dar es Salaam on Thursday.
Kilimo Kwanza is an ambitious government initiative that seeks to attain green revolution by involving both the public and private entities aiming at building a strong, sustainable and viable economic progress.
“Unless we offer our farmers a fair price and therefore stable income, we will not be able to create a dent in poverty,” Mr Naiko who also doubles as the Vice President of World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA) said.
He explained that entering into large scale commercial agriculture would be one way of helping small farmers in the country and Africa at large competing with large scale farmers in Europe, America, Canada and others who receive subsidies for their agricultural produce.
He said: “We cannot afford to give any subsidies to our poor farmers; as Africans and Tanzanians we have to fight our insignificance in the world trade, in goods and services in the face of globalization.”
He noted that Tanzania had decided very affirmatively that Kilimo Kwanza is a number one priority that would make the country a bread basket of developing countries. However, Mr Naiko cautioned that attracting investments in the agricultural sector was facing a challenge due to a recent global financial crisis.
The global Foreign Direct Investment Inflows (FDI) declined from USD 2.2 trillion in 2007 to USD 1.1 trillion in 2009. Statistics shows that FDI to Africa in 2007 was just USD 72 billion; the highest ever recorded but fell to USD 59 billion in 2009. Globally, the FDI that has been going to the agriculture sector has been only between USD 1 to 3 billion.
The TIC boss explained that the capacity to compete is enhanced and leveraged by application of science and technology, skills and changes in attitude “If our agriculture is to have a chance in a globalizing world.”
“We can not compete if we continue to brag only that we have a lot of arable land producing raw commodities,” he argued. He added that Tanzania must undertake value addition on almost all of her agricultural produces along side with the large commercial farmers augmented by the out growers to sustainably supply the raw materials required by agro industries.
When talking during the first anniversary of Kilimo Kwanza initiative last month, President Jakaya Kikwete said that that the government is doing whatever it takes to make green revolution a reality. Already, the government has signed and ratified an ambitious Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) in July this year.
According to the president the programme which is in line with the country’s Kilimo Kwanza initiative seeks to help African countries reach a higher path of economic growth through agriculture-led development. CAADP’s goal is to eliminate hunger and reduce poverty through agriculture.
To do this African governments have agreed to increase public investment in agriculture by a minimum of 10 per cent of their national budgets and to raise agricultural productivity by at least six per cent. Tanzania is not far from CAAP’s goal. This year’s agricultural budget has increased to 8.1 per cent of the total 2010/2011 budget which stands at 11.1trn/-, a step seen by stakeholders as a clear sign of the government’s resolve to revamp the agriculture sector.
Also, the budget for building irrigation infrastructure had increased from 21bn/- from 2009/2010 to 23bn/- this financial year. Already the government in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) had completed the Comprehensive Guidelines for Irrigation Scheme Development under District Agricultural Development Plan.
Also, the government would in the 'Kilimo Kwanza' spirit rehabilitate and construct 25 irrigation schemes for 18,000 hectares this financial year. This will also involve construction and rehabilitation of eight irrigation dams with the capacity of storing sufficient water to irrigate 3,250 hectares.