Tanzania’s agriculture is a leading contributor to the country’s GDP accounting for 28.2% in 2018 (USD 12.7 billion). In 2014 it accounted for USD 10.3 billion or 25.8% of GDP, marking an increase of 48% over 5 years.
Agricultural land in Tanzania was last measured in 2016 and amounts to 44 million ha which represents 45% of the country’s total land area versus 30.5% in 1967 (0.79% average annual growth rate).
Tanzania’s crop production decreased by 3% in the past 5 years, from 10.3 million tonnes in 2014/15 to 9.9 million tonnes in 2018/19.
Food crop production reached 9.3 million tonnes in 2018/19, compared to 9.7 million tonnes in 2014/15 (-4%). Maize is the most produced food crop in Tanzania accounting for 62.6%, followed by rice (21.6%), pulses (15.1%), and wheat (0.7%).
Cash crop production reached 0.639 million tonnes in 2018/19, compared to 0.627 million tonnes in 2014/15, marking an increase of 2%. Cashew nuts are the most produced cash crop in Tanzania accounting for 35.2% of the production, followed by seed cotton (34.9%), coffee (10.4%), tobacco (8.6%), tea (5.8%), and sisal (5%).
Crop exports accounted for USD 830 million (9%) of the total value of Tanzania’s exports in 2019, compared to USD 793 million in 2015, representing an increase of 5%.
Raw tobacco and cashew nuts are Tanzania’s most exported cash crops. The top export destinations of the Tanzanian tobacco are Germany, Russia, and Poland, while almost 80% of cashews are exported to India. Most of the production of cashew nuts in Tanzania is exported without being shelled.
Tanzania’s livestock production generated USD 4.2 billion in 2018, compared to USD 2.4 billion in 2014, representing an increase of 75%.
Out of the total meat production, 55% (USD 2.31 billion) comes from cattle, 21% (USD 0.88 billion) from sheep and goats, 14% (USD 0.59 billion) from pigs, and only 10% (USD 0.42 billion) 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’s fishing industry generated USD 0.27 billion in 2018 versus USD 0.21 billion in 2014, marking an increase of 26%.
Aquaculture in Tanzania is dominated by freshwater fish farming in which small-scale farmers practice both extensive and semi-intensive fish farming.
Small fish ponds of an average size of 10 m x 15 mm (150 m2) are integrated with other agricultural activities such as gardening and animal and bird production on small pieces of land.
Tanzania is currently estimated to have a total of 14,100 freshwater fishponds scattered across the mainland.
Tanzania Agriculture Value-Addition
The Tanzanian agriculture value-added net output increased by 46% during the period 2012–2017, from USD 10.5 billion to USD 15.3 billion.
Currently, value-added products in Tanzania include cotton yarn, manufactured coffee and tobacco, sisal products (yarn and twine), wheat flour, biscuits and pasta, beer, textiles, rolled steel, refined sugar, etc.
Tanzania produces an average of 300,000 tonnes of sugar per year while demand stands at about 670,000 tonnes, of which 77% is for domestic consumption and 23% is for industrial use.
In April 2020, The Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) issued a notice inviting domestic and foreign investors to develop sugarcane and sugar processing plantations due to a sugar demand gap in the country.
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.
The President of Tanzania Hon. Samia Suluhu Hassan has directed the Ministry of Agriculture to work with the Ministry of Finance and Planning to establish an Agricultural Development Fund.
In addition, President Samia also instructed the Ministry of Agriculture and the Office of the President Personnel to review and reform the structure of the Irrigation Commission to ensure it has an Office in each District.
President Samia issued the directive on 4th April 2022 while launching the distribution of agricultural equipment including motorcycles, soil testing equipment, smartphones and technical boxes at a ceremony held at the Jakaya Kikwete conference hall in Dar es Salaam.
President Samia said the Fund would be responsible for financing agricultural inputs as was the case with cashew, cotton, and tobacco so that the fund could be used as a subsidy when inputs go up in price.
The Fund will be funded by special levies on agricultural products, the Central Government Fund and development partners.
President Samia has ordered all farms under the Treasury Registrar’s Office to be revived and used in partnership with the Private Sector for a long-term land lease system.
Similarly, President Samia has called on the Ministry of Agriculture to focus on food production and trade, including vegetable crops as well as strategic crops to meet domestic demand and export surplus.
Tanzania Agriculture Strategy
Tanzania’s agriculture is a leading contributor to the country’s GDP.
Boosting the country’s agriculture production and promoting livestock and fisheries has been one of the current administration’s priority areas.
In this regard, the government recently outlined its agricultural transformation agenda in its Ajenda 10/30 to attain a 10% annual growth rate for the sector by 2030.
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