On December 18, 2023, Dar es Salaam hosted an investment forum to identify opportunities in the agricultural sector and bring together stakeholders and the Government for further implementation steps.
The forum’s discussions were anchored on the backdrop of Tanzania’s rapidly growing population, projected to reach 80 million by 2030, and the consequent surge in food demand.
This scenario presents many investment opportunities in areas such as fertilizer production, pest control herbicides, post-harvest loss reduction, irrigation infrastructure, and agriculture mechanization.
Additionally, the need to address the gap in packaging materials was identified as a critical investment area.
Opening the forum, the Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Hussein Bashe highlighted the government’s commitment to reducing imports of key commodities like sugar, edible oil, and wheat, and emphasized the potential for local investment in pesticide blending.
The government is offering concessions to stimulate domestic production in this area.
Bashe also underscored the government’s plan to support the mechanization of agriculture through subsidies and encouraged the private sector to establish mechanization centers.
He reminded that H.E. President Dr. Samia Suluhu Hassan has made significant efforts to invest in the Agricultural Sector by increasing its budget for the 2023/24 financial year to 970 billion to bring about an agricultural revolution in the country.
He mentioned that sustainable production requires to produce enough food for domestic use and surplus for sale in the African and global markets due to the high demand for food and the significant increase in the world population, which is estimated to reach two billion by the year 2050.
Minister Bashe explained that 82% are small-scale farmers with an average cultivation area of 2.5 hectares; the remaining 18% are farmers who cultivate large farms ranging from 50-100 hectares. “We must make business decisions by empowering small-scale farmers to move from subsistence farming to commercial farming,” he said.
He further stated that from 1970 to 2020, the growth of the agricultural sector has undergone policy and economic changes, and now we need sustainable growth.
“In 2023, we were supposed to grow by 7.1%, and to achieve this, we need capital and investment by establishing good systems so that business can be conducted in the sector, and this will eliminate other problems caused by the condition of small production that leads to poverty,” he added.
The forum also revealed the significant reliance on imports for packaging materials. Bashe urged local investors to build warehouses and silos to address post-harvest challenges, with the government indicating its support for such initiatives.
The expansion of irrigated land and the focus on mechanization were identified as key strategies to enhance agricultural productivity.
For his part, Tanzania’s Minister of Planning and Investment Kitila Mkumbo pointed out the significant growth in Tanzania’s exports, emphasizing the importance of establishing semi-processing plants for job creation and value addition.
In addition, Tanzania’s Finance Minister Mwigulu Nchemba discussed the role of the Export Credit Guarantee Scheme (ECGS) at the Bank of Tanzania in enhancing exports and providing an export substitution strategy.
The ECGS is set to increase its support for the agriculture sector, which is in line with the government’s increased budget allocation to TZS 970 billion for the 2023/24 financial year.
The forum concluded with a strong call to the private sector to capitalize on these opportunities, aligning with the government’s vision for transforming Tanzania’s agricultural landscape and ensuring food security while driving economic growth.