Upcoming Tanzania Agriculture Bank Seeks Investors

Members of the Tanzania National Business Council (TNBC) as well as the members of country’s business community have recently been encouraged to buy shares in a new agricultural bank that has been proposed by the Government as a way to boost production within the Tanzania agriculture sector.

The announcement of the new bank, which would function as a part of the larger project entitled “Kilimo Kwanza” (Agriculture First), came during the recent reveal of the country’s 2009/10 national budget at a parliamentary meeting that took place earlier this month.

The underlying purpose of the project, which was designed by the TNBC’s Agricultural Working Group (AWG), is to help improve the agriculture sector’s rate of production.

According to a recent report by The Citizen, the realization of the project’s aim will be reached through the funding of various agricultural activities.

The same newspaper also reported the executive secretary of TNBC, Dunstan Mrutu, as saying that the concept of the ‘Agriculture First’ project could only reach a meaningful conclusion with help and active participation of the private sector through the creation of new industries that would be responsible for the manufacturing of farm inputs.

“We have a problem in that most of the inputs we use are being imported,” said Mr. Mrutu during a recent public service exhibition in Dar es Salaam, “It’s time the private sector invested in industries to produce inputs like fertilizer.”

In general, the Government of Tanzania is looking to place increased emphasis and importance on commercial farming and irrigation as well as on the overall improvement of the infrastructure and sourcing of new markets for farmers.

To this end, the new bank project will attempt to address the area of concern regarding the prompt release of funding and inputs for local farmers.

The report by the citizen cited Mr. Mrutu as indicateing the need for the private sector to buy shares in the anticipated Agriculture Development Bank, which is expected to be operational soon and, upon its completion, will help to provide cheap loans to local farmers.

This, combined with other planned improvements to the sector, will help to develop the country’s agricultural sector.

“The Government has already made a solid decision to establish (the) special bank to develop the agriculture sector,” said Mr. Mrutu, “it is now up to the private sector to play its part by buying shares.”