Agriculture is Tanzania’s economic mainstay, contributing USD 13.9bn to its GDP (nearly 30%) and 67% to total employment during 2014.
Agricultural land in Tanzania was last measured at 396,500sq.km in 2013 (45% of total land area) versus 369,744sq.km in 2008, representing an increase of 7% over the 5–year period.
Tanzania’s crop production rose by 44% during 2008–2013, beating the Sub-Saharan Africa average crop production growth rate of 18% during the same period, according to the World Bank’s (WB) crop production index.
Tanzania’s main exported cash crops are tobacco, cashew nuts, coffee, tea, cloves, cotton, and sisal.
Raw tobacco represents Tanzania’s most important exported cash crop growing from USD 169m worth of exports in 2010 to USD 318m in 2015, followed by cashews which grew from USD 50m to USD 201m, and coffee from USD 109m to USD 162m in the same period.
The top export destinations of the Tanzanian tobacco are Germany, Russia, and Poland, while almost 80% of cashews are exported to India.
Tanzania’s livestock production rose by 33% during 2008–2013, exceeding the Sub-Saharan Africa average livestock production growth rate of 11% during the same period, as per the WB’s livestock production index.
Meat production in Tanzania rose by 33% over the period 2008–2013, from 422,230t to 563,086t, as indicated in the 2014–2015 Annual Report of the Tanzania’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food Securities and Development.
Out of the total meat production, 55% comes from cattle, 21% from sheep and goats, 14% from pigs, and only 10% from chicken.
In 2015, Tanzania’s Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development launched the Tanzania Livestock Modernization Initiative (TLMI), which aims to transform the traditional livestock sub-sector into a modern, responsive, sustainable and environmentally-friendly engine for rural development.
Tanzania Agriculture Value-Addition
The Tanzanian agriculture value-added net output increased by 61% during the period 2009–2014, from USD 8.6bn to USD 13.8bn, exceeding by 5% the growth of value-added agricultural output in Sub-Saharan Africa during the same period.
Currently, value-added products in Tanzania include cotton yarn, manufactured coffee and tobacco, sisal products (yarn and twine), and wheat flour.
In line with the 2025 Vision of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Cooperatives of Tanzania, there should be at least two new products developed from each of the staple crops, horticultural crops, livestock and fisheries by that year.
Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT)
In 2010 the SAGCOT, an agricultural partnership designed to improve agricultural productivity, food security and livelihoods in Tanzania, was initiated.
During March 2016, the WB approved a USD 70m SAGCOT Investment Project to support the agricultural sector of Tanzania and strengthen it by linking smallholder farmers to agribusiness for boosting incomes and job-led growth.
Tanzania Agriculture Development Bank (TADB)
In 2015 the TADB was established by the government of Tanzania to assist in implementing its policies and strategies relating to the agricultural sector.
The TADB is dedicated to contributing significantly to the development of agriculture in Tanzania through mobilizing financial resources and supporting smallholder farmers with low interest loans.
Thomas Samkyi, the TADB’s Managing Director, said that the bank needs large amounts of capital and its target is to commit the government into providing capital of up to TZS 800m.
Francis Assenga, the TADB’s Director of Plan, Research, and Policy said that the bank will open six new offices throughout the country in the next five years in order to reach as many farmers as possible.
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