Ulega hypes agribusiness as population rise

DAR ES SALAAM: TANZANIANS must take agribusiness seriously as it supports agriculture and provides increasing opportunities, especially with the global rise in urban and peri-urban populations and the steady increase in Tanzania’s population.

Currently, Tanzania’s population stands at over 61 million according to the recent national census.

During the 15th Agricultural Economics Society of Tanzania (AGREST) conference in Dar es Salaam, Minister for Livestock and Fisheries Abdallah Ulega emphasised the importance of engaging in agribusiness.

He stated that agribusinesses have experienced significant growth over the years, driven by the increasing demand from well-off urban consumers for different, higher quality and often high-value products and services.

Furthermore, the Tanzanian government has implemented initiatives and policies to enhance the resilience of agribusiness.

Minister Ulega explained that agribusiness encompasses activities such as production, processing, packaging, distribution and consumption of agricultural products. It also includes related services like supplying inputs such as fertilisers, seeds, breeds and equipment, as well as providing advisory and extension services to agriculture.

Regarding the government’s initiatives and policies, Mr Ulega mentioned that they have streamlined policies and regulations to improve agribusiness resilience. This includes lifting food crop export bans, removing restrictions on where farmers can sell their crops and livestock products and allowing the importation of specialised inputs for production and processing.

Additionally, the government is investing in key infrastructure such as roads, irrigation systems, animal healthcare facilities, slaughterhouses, cold storage facilities and other common facilities for processing perishable produce. These investments aim to ensure that agribusiness value chains covering crops, livestock and fisheries products are resilient.

The government is also collaborating with the private sector to expand international market access for agricultural produce, livestock and fisheries products.

Furthermore, the government has increased its investment in agriculture, livestock and fisheries research and development. It has also embraced digital technology to improve the agriculture, livestock and fisheries sectors.

In terms of climate change, Tanzania has adopted climate-smart agricultural practices, including the cultivation of drought-resistant crops, sustainable land management and the promotion of climate-resilient livestock breeds.

The government’s ambitious Agenda 10/30 initiative aims to achieve a 10 per cent annual growth rate in the agriculture sector by 2030. Additionally, the 2022/23-2026/27 Livestock Transformation Plan outlines investment areas for the livestock sector.

Tanzanians are urged to recognise the developments occurring in logistics, storage, transport, wholesale, retail and food services within the agribusiness value chain.

The developments present new opportunities for farmers to increase their income, food security and nutrition while improving access to productivity-enhancing inputs and services.

Dr Florens Turuka, Chairman of AGREST, emphasised the importance of agribusiness value chains in agriculture. He stated that agriculture accounts for 35 per cent of the value of economies in Africa and up to 50 per cent of the value of the world economy. In Tanzania specifically, agriculture contributes 26 per cent to the GDP and employs 65 per cent of the labour force.

Dr Turuka also highlighted that agribusiness value chains face challenges due to climate change, geopolitical tensions and conflicts.

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