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Commercial farm seeks $2.2m investment in crop production

Wednesday April 14 2021
Crop pic

Mechanisation of agriculture calls for huge investment. It is only through injecting sufficient capital that transformation can take place in how agriculture is conducted in Tanzania. PHOTO | FILE

By The Citizen Reporter

Dar es Salaam. Iringa-based commercial farm, Farm For the Future (FFF), said yesterday that it has been impressed by President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s recent gesture towards economic transformation, saying in supports of the same and hence would solicit $2.2 million (about Sh5 billion) of investment in crop production.

Since coming to power, President Hassan has shown that she wants to see businesses flourishing by openly ordering her lieutenants to desist from milking taxpayers dry and locking businesses accounts.

“Finance Minister, you have been issued with a target of raising tax revenue to Sh2 trillion but that should be done through expanding the tax base. You are killing businesses. You use more force than skills in your tax collection endeavours,” President Hassan said in Dodoma recently during the swearing-in of some ministers and deputy ministers.

President Hassan said she was unhappy with the tendency of milking taxpayers dry and that of going to the extent of seizing their working tools and holding bank accounts.

“Though the law allows you to do that, but by doing so you’re pushing business to close and move to other countries. By so doing, you are reducing the number of taxpayers,” she said, insisting on the need to expand the tax base.

“Anything that reduces taxpayers’ morale to comply in tax paying must be worked on accordingly,” she said.

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The directive seems to have sunk well in the minds of investors, large and small, with Farm For the Future chairman Osmund Ueland saying it was committing itself to investing further in the country.

“We are actively looking for investors locally and in the European market to expand our operations. Our plan is to invest $2.2 million in high value crops specifically seed maize and macadamia and associated irrigation systems that will guarantee our ability to grow sustainably and profitably,” he said.

Farm For the Future will be the first in Tanzania to grow macadamia on a large scale commercial investment while giving a large number of farmers opportunities to lift themselves out of poverty through participation in the value chain.

Mr Ueland said macadamia nuts attract a premium price in international markets and would offer an important source of income for producers and foreign exchange earnings for the country.

He said it would also support a string of other actors in the value chain from input suppliers to processors.

So far, the company has invested $1.2 million, largely sourced from Europe, noting that he would like to see local investors taking advantage of such an opportunity to invest in the highly profitable commodities.

“I would like to see at least 10 per cent investment coming from Tanzanians,” Mr Ueland said.

The chairman said the government’s pledge and efforts in welcoming foreign investors was encouraging.

“This gives us confidence and it is one of the best ways the government can support us at a time when we are scaling up our operations,” Mr Ueland said.

He said the Iringa Investment Guide serves as a blueprint for facilitating investments and contributing towards attainment of Tanzania’s industrialization dream.

Macadamia remains a niche product for their superior health benefits as well as natural cosmetics while they are also consumed as premium snacks and used as ingredients in cookies and ice cream.

With the farm’s investment in irrigation and high value crops, the number of permanent and casual workers will more than double during the coming years.

The number of out growers will follow and the farm will become a strong motor in community development.

Commercial farming and training on the same arena is the very unique model at FFF.

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