Tanzania targets Sh8 trillion export of crops by 2025

Wednesday August 10 2022
TZ crops pix

President Samia Suluhu Hassan listens to Agriculture minister Hussein Bashe at one of the pavilions during the 2022 Nane Nane Agricultural exhibition in Mbeya

By Louis Kalumbia

Dar es Salaam. The government is forecasting a $1.820 billion (Sh4.186 trillion) rise in crop exports in three years from now as it seeks to raise production and ensure that agriculture contributes an increased share of Tanzania’s economy.
The target is to raise crop exports by 48 percent to $3.5 billion (about Sh8.05 trillion) by 2025 as food shipments rise to overtake the value that Tanzania earns from its traditional export crops.
The target will be realised through increasing the value of food crop exports to $2 billion (about Sh4.6 trillion) while that of traditional crops (cashew nuts, tobacco, cotton, coffee, tea, sisal and cloves) to $1.5 billion (about Sh3.45 trillion).
In a recent tweet, Agriculture minister Hussein Bashe said the forecast is triggered by an outstanding export growth shown by food crops in the last three years as compared to that of traditional crops.
“Our exports have been supported by food crops that have kept growing in the last three years. Exports of cash crops; cotton, cashews and tobacco have tremendously dropped,” he said in a tweet, backing it up with figures on the state of the nation economy for the entre 2021/22 financial year.
Data from the 2021/22 report shows that food crops export value increased by 59.3 percent from $748.3 million in 2020 to $1.192 billion in 2021.
On the contrary, export of traditional crops declined by 22.3 percent from $807.9 million in 2020 to 627.7 million in 2021.
Furthermore, data shows that while rice export grew by 110 percent from the value of $143.7 million to $301.9 million, cocoa, beans and maize exports grew by 56.5 percent from $330.5 million to $517.2 million.
“Horticultural crops’ export (vegetables and fruits) grew by 36.1 percent from the value of $274.1 million to $373 million,” reads the document in part.
According to statistics, the export of only four traditional crops’ grew; cloves (202.9pc); sisal (14.8pc); coffee (6.9pc) and tea (1.5pc).
“But the export of remaining traditional crops declined: cashews by 55.8 percent from $359.6 million in 2020 to $159 million in 2021. Tobacco export declined by 14.3 percent from $148.7 million to $127.5 million,” reads part of the report.
Cotton exports dropped by 7.1 percent from $87.5 million to $81.5 million.
Tabling the 2022/23 Financial  Year budget in Parliament, Mr Bashe said Uganda imported an average of 136,377.97 tonnes of rice from Tanzania annually in the last three years, which is equivalent to 56.42 percent of exported rice.
Other countries and the quantity of rice in tonnes imported from Tanzania in brackets are: Rwanda (37,759.57), Burundi (4,829.27), Democratic Republic of Congo (4,796.33) and Zambia (404.00).
Others are India (234.20), United Arab Emirates (UAE), Malawi (151.67) and others (2,588.60).
The minister, who doubles as Nzega Urban Constituency Member of Parliament (MP), said Kenya imported an average of 83,087 tonnes of maize annually from Tanzania in the last three years, which is equivalent to 70 percent of the whole exported maize during that period.
He named other countries and the average tonnes of the produce imported from Tanzania in brackets as: South Sudan (6,400), Zimbabwe (6,037), DRC (5,995) and Burundi (5,695).
Others are Rwanda (5,382), Uganda (2.784), Sudan (1,667), UAE (980) and others (368).
According to him, production of traditional commercial crops is expected to increase from 919,282 tonnes in 2021/22 season to 1,462,800 tonnes in the 2022/23 season. He said the crop’s export will ultimately increase to 641,515 worth $1.199 billion.
Mr Bashe told the House crop export revenue is projected to increase to $5 billion which is equivalent to Sh11.5 trillion by 2030.
He attributed the projections to several factors including an increased number of block farms from 110 in 2020 to 10,000 by 2030.
Other factors are self-sufficiency
and exporting the surplus; increasing agricultural land subjected to irrigation by half (8.5 million hectares) by 2030, therefore increasing crops production through irrigation from 10 to 50 percent.
“Reaching 2025, one million jobs will be created for the youth and women. Also, raw materials access for value addition factories will be increased by 100 percent in 2030,” he said.
“Access to agricultural loans will increase from nine percent in 2022 to 30 percent and post-harvest losses will be reduced to five percent from the present 35 percent to five percent by 2030,” he added.
Furthermore, he said during that period the government will reduce the shortage of cooking oil and make sunflowers that will enable the country to be edible oil self-sufficient and export the surplus.
“We will invest in 135 palm oil plantations and increase horticultural crops exports from $750 million to $2 billion by 2030,” he said.
Furthermore, he said efforts are afoot to make the country fertilizer self-sufficient and prioritise utilisation of limestone to domestic firms in order to reduce production costs as well as increase access of quality and improved seeds.
Agriculture Non-State Actors Forum (Ansaf) executive director Audax Rukonge said all crops should now be given equal opportunities, noting that they should only be differentiated by their marketing preferences.
“The government should continue allowing farmers to trade their produce whenever they find vibrant markets without restrictions,” he said.
He said by crops registering negative growth it doesn’t mean their demand in the global market has declined.
Mr Rukonge noted that the decline in cashew growth is caused by the trading of raw cashew nuts (RCN) while consumers want value added produce.
“We should now strive at rescuing traditional commercial crops with declining growth, if the country wants to have an equal distribution of resources and income,” he said.
“Food is a huge business in the regional market, better focusing on the neighbouring market will attract more revenue than concentrating on the far markets.”