Tanzania can be lead in agriculture

What you need to know:

  • Tanzania, rich in agricultural resources and potential can be a continental powerhouse, should processes and policies, among many, be amended

Dar es Salaam. The World Bank (WB) placed Tanzania among three African nations whose agriculture needs transformation to become the continent’s agriculture powerhouse, with economists saying the sector’s local policy needs to reflect global views.

In its recent journal dubbed “Putting Africans at the Heart of Food Security and Climate Resilience” the WB said at least one in five Africans goes to bed hungry, with 140 million individuals facing acute food insecurity.

Moreover, the journal sees that Tanzania, Angola, and Zambia have the potentials to be agricultural powerhouses in Africa, though the sector should be transformed to meet the needs of people, economy, and environment.

“The WB is ramping up its efforts and joining forces with partners across the food system landscape to help these countries and others prepare and implement this critical transformation,” reads the journal in part.

Prof Haji Semboja, senior lecturer at the Zanzibar University (ZU), said: “The aforesaid countries are among Africa’s richly-resource countries; they have massive productive land fit for agriculture, and they have manpower.”

He adds: “In addition, Tanzania has ample water resources and is strategically located, but with the agricultural structure in terms of laws, regulations and policies, Tanzania may not realise its potentials.

The economic professor was of the view that a total transformation should start with agriculture policy, adding: “You need to have a system that responds to the current and future needs and more importantly, policies that would emphasise on the importance of value addition.”

He doesn’t believe in selling raw produce and therefore he advocates the need for a business environment that would attract more capital in the industry sector, and that farmers will have a reliable market for their yields.

“Let’s get rid of event-based policies, we need to have a system that is there to stay without reflecting on wishes of individuals with power, such a system will build trust amongst investors,” he reflected.

For Prof Ulingeta Mbamba, senior lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam Business School (UDSB), implementation of modern agriculture which would change the country’s farming culture is vital.

“First, a turn from rain-fed agriculture is crucial, then we need to make use of hybrid seeds, and other farm inputs thus increase efficiency, increase productivity while decreasing environmental impact,” he said.

“We also need to deal with post-harvest losses, approximately 70 percent of fruits are lost while at farm, when harvesting and during the storage. Let’s train our people on post-harvest handling and storage,” he added.

Prof Deograsias Mushi from Udsm was of the view that small-scale farmers need a mind-set change as they dominate the sector (approximately 70 percent).

“They are used to the traditional way of farming, this has to change, the sector needs to be modernised, ” he observed.