Agri stakeholders discuss AGRF opportunities

DODOMA: THE Agricultural Non-State Actors Forum (ANSAF)’s 14th Annual Learning Event (ALE) has convened stakeholders in the agriculture sector to discuss and deliberate on how Tanzania can tap the potential and emerging opportunities offered by the recent 2023 Africa Food Systems Forum (AFSF), formerly known as AGRF.

Held last week in Dodoma, ALE sought to look at the country’s ability to fully leverage the emerging opportunities presented by the AFSF/AGRF held in Dar es Salaam in September 2023, according to ANSAF Executive Director, Honest Mseri.

The ALE aimed at providing the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO)’s members, producers, public sector, private sector enterprises, researchers, development partners, donors and other key stakeholders with the chance to reflect on the AFSF/AGRF.

“This event is a vital platform for fostering collaboration, driving positive change, and shaping the future of agriculture in Tanzania. It serves as a catalyst for policy development, innovation, and inclusive growth within the sector, ultimately contributing to food security, economic development, and the well-being of Tanzanian communities,’’ said Mr Mseri when giving his opening remarks at the conference.

ANSAF is a member-led Tanzanian NGO providing a neutral platform for participatory policy dialogues with the view of building evidence that can be used for advocacy work nationally and internationally. Its Annual Learning Events are among such platforms used to provide necessary evidence to trigger changes in policy and practice.

Themed: “Post-AGRF 2023: Leveraging Emerging Opportunities,” the 14th ALE, which convened stakeholders for two days, was intended to incite focused discussions and deliberations for improved policy and practice, according to ANSAF Board Chairperson, Mr Edmond Ringo.

The AGRF summit 2023 focused on the development of Africa’s Food Systems and Food Sovereignty, with youths and women at the heart of it. The summit called for re-energised commitment and a renewed sense of energy in the food systems conversation with a focus on regenerating interest in Agriculture as a means of wealth creation for the continent.

The AFSF/AGRF event not only positioned Tanzania as the hub for agricultural innovation and sustainable food systems, but also opened enormous economic potential and attracted substantial investments. Tanzania demonstrated its potential as a key participant in Africa’s food industry with President Samia Suluhu Hassan insisting that the country was intending to become Africa’s food basket.

At ALE meeting last week, Agriculture Sector Lead Ministries (ASLMs), development partners, think tanks, private sector, women and youths, focused at the opportunities encompassing areas such as production, value addition, agro-processing, innovative financing, digitalisation, supply chain management, logistics, market development and marketing.

Speaking at the event, the Director of Crops Development (DCD) in the Ministry of Agriculture, Nyasebwa Chimagu, underscored the need to intensify collaboration between the government and the private sector, if tapping the emerging opportunities presented by AFSF/AGRF was anything to go by.

“Youths have a role to play in efforts to make agriculture among key sectors contributing to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) because the recent statistics from the Population and Housing Census indicate that young persons aged between 15 and 35 are over 21 million (34.5 per cent) of the country’s population,’’ he noted.

He insisted that it was high time for the country to increase its export earnings from agriculture which was employing a large population of the country. Agriculture is the main source of food and livelihoods in Tanzania, as it employs about 65per cent of the population.

The sector contributes about 30per cent of total export revenues and provides 65per cent of the country’s industrial raw materials. Such potential makes agriculture an engine for inclusive growth, thereby significantly contributing to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

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