Iringa. Tanzania is likely to be the second largest copper processor south of
the Sahara similar to that in Zambia, Iringa District Council Executive Director, Robert Masunya, told journalists here recently.
“Our district has mineral deposits including copper and gold deposits. In relation to copper we are creating conducive environment that will allow miners to extract and build a big industry south of the Sahara like that in Zambia,” Mr Masunya said emphatically but without giving more details.
He said the council is aware of the government’s commitment to achieving a middle income economy within the framework of National Vision 2025, adding that for that reason the council invites investors in agriculture, small and big industries.
The DED said the council has set aside over 200 hectares for investment, explaining that emphasis is on improving livelihoods of the most disadvantaged. “Our duty as experts and administrators is to raise the lives of those at the bottom,” he said.
He also said the council is working on plans to improve roads and other physical infrastructure to link centres of production to the markets. “We want to tackle these hitches beforehand. We do not want investors and farmers to be distressed by infrastructural holdups,” he said.
Mr Masunya also floated Pawaga tract for huge irrigation investment, but said the council will have to do some homework before irrigation projects are launched. “We have farmers who are not observing the law. They have are engaged in human activities inside 60 metres from water sources.” Such legal issues, he said, must be cleared before huge irrigation investment in the area begins.
The Head of Clusters Development of Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT Centre), Ms Maria Ijumba, assured that Sagcot has already created supportive environment to prospective investors in order to have viable agricultural and dairy value chains.
“We stand between the government and the private sector. Our concern is the smallholder. We want to link these farmers to markets; but they must produce quality and enough products so that they supply the market for a whole year,” she said.
Ms Ijumba said Sagcot and its partners have established a special Irish potato seed centre to serve farmers in Iringa, Njombe and nearby regions.