During a recent interview with the Chinese newspaper, Xinhua, the Tanzanian Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, Stephen Masatu Wasira, announced that the country is not only currently welcoming Chinese investment, but is also anticipating additional investment by the Chinese in the Tanzania agriculture sector.
“Tanzania welcomes Chinese investment and is expecting more investment in agriculture sector to boost bilateral cooperation and enhance food production,” he said in a phone interview with Xinhua earlier this week.
In addition, the minister also praised the good cooperation and the smooth implementation of bilateral cooperation projects in the country’s agriculture industry.
“During Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit to Tanzania in February this year, the Tanzanian government and the Chinese government signed a series of agreements including that on development and cooperation in agriculture sector,” he explained.
In fact, according to the Chinese report, there are already several Chinese agriculture projects that are currently operational within the Eastern African country, including a big farm in Morogoro region in eastern Tanzanian.
“We would like to invite more Chinese companies to invest on the limited and valuable resources in Tanzania to boost agriculture production and marketing,” said Mr. Wasira.
In addition, the minister also said that the two countries are currently communicating about the development and the implementation of setting up an agricultural technology demonstration center in Tanzania; this center was included as a part of the eight-point measures that were announced in the 2006 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.
Mr. Wasira went on to explain that Tanzania’s national “Agriculture First” policy is of particular importance to the country’s national economy because of the international financial crisis as approximately 80 percent of the country’s population depends on the sector.
“The policy is not a slogan,” he said, “but it’s real, which means to boost grain production.”
In addition, Mr. Wasira said that because of the lack of sufficient rain, China can provide assistance to the country’s agriculture sector adding in the area of irrigation technology.
According to Mr. Wasira, other international investments in the country’s agriculture sector include sugar cane plant projects that are being supported by South Africa and Mauritius, as well as funding that is being given by the United States and Great Britain to support rice production in the country.
Additional agriculture programs that are being supported by development partners include rural financial services, livestock programs and agricultural marketing systems development programs, all of which are receiving at least partial support from the International Fund for Agriculture Development.