TBL, SAGCOT leader advocate efficient water use by manufacturers

09Nov 2017
The Guardian
TBL, SAGCOT leader advocate efficient water use by manufacturers
  • • According to a new World Bank Report, Tanzania’s infant industrial sector consumes a per cent of the water resources in the country compared to over 80 per cent by agro-producers, who mostly don’t pay for it

COMMERCIAL water consumers including agro-producers and beverage manufacturers should invest in modern technology to reduce consumption of the liquid but also its wastage.

Image result for Tanzania Breweries Limited Managing Director Roberto Jarrin

Tanzania Breweries Limited Managing Director Roberto Jarrin and the Chief Executive Officer of Southern Agriculture Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT), Geoffrey Kirenga, said beverage manufacturers and agro-producers have an obligation to reduce consumption of water through use of modern technology including recycling.

“At TBL, we have managed to reduce the amount of water that we use by a half in the past six years due to use of technology,” Jarrin said during the 10th Tanzania Economic Update launch in Dar es Salaam earlier this week.

He said TBL has also invested heavily in recycling technology such that water is reused after being treated for various purposes saying the brewer which is part of AB InBev understand the importance of optimum use of the resource.

“The Mwanza brewery is among the top ten in the world in terms of water use efficiency,” Jarrin said during a panel discussion on the report which also called for efficient water use by consumers who are paying peanuts to get the resource. The report said the country’s infant industrial sector consumes a per cent of the resource compared to over 80 per cent by agro-producers, who mostly don’t pay for it.

The TBL chief executive further noted that the brewer which works in partnership with barley farmers also assists them adopt technology to use less water while maximising production. “We as a beverages manufacturer understand that if there is no water, there is no beverage,” he stressed.

Seconding Jarrin’s observation, SAGCOT’s Kirenga said projects under the corridor are already employing drip irrigation and other technologies to ensure water use is efficient and sustainable.

“As agriculture players, we understand the importance of efficient and sustainable use of water hence employment of various methods to ensure that this is done,” he noted. He pointed out that apart from using modern equipment for irrigation, SAGCOT projects also use hybrid seeds which produce massively while utilising less water and other resources.

“SRI uses less water but has very high yields,” the SAGCOT chief executive noted. System for Rice Intensification (SRI) is practiced in the Kilombero Valley where the big rice producer has partnered with thousands of smallholders farmers.

Under the arrangement, paddy rice production among smallholder farmers has increased from three metric tonnes per hectare to five at Kilombero Plantation Limited and involves over 7,000 farmers.

Presenting a synopsis of the report’s second part which highlighted the danger of water scarcity as the country moves towards becoming a middle-income and semi-industrialised economy, World Bank’s William Rex said even the pricing of the resource is not realistic.

“Research shows that Tanzania is water stressed because agriculture is using more water, about 80 per cent against the global average of 70 per cent,” Rex said pointing out that much of the water is used for irrigation but informally.

Advocating for proper pricing of the resources especially among commercial consumers to ensure sustainability, the World Bank presenter further warned that with rapid economic growth and government’s push for industrialization was consumption will increase significantly.

“Industries need water and economic growth leads to rapid urbanization and increases water consumption,” he noted.

The former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment who has since been shifted to Foreign Affairs, Prof Adolf Mkenda, said industrialization needs to be done through creation of industrial parks where all necessary utilities including water and power are supplied.

“Currently most industries are scattered in areas where there are no necessary infrastructure,” he noted saying as the government advances economic diplomacy, efficient and sustainable water use is one of the basic things being taken aboard across borders.

The World Bank report states that the country is officially water stressed hence needs urgent measures to address the situation before it worsens. “Over the last quarter century, Tanzania’s renewable per capita freshwater resources have declined from more than 3,000 cubic metres to around 1,600 in 2014. This figure will continue to decline, reaching 1,400 by 2025,” the report stated.

It however observes that the amount is still in excess of 1,000 cubic metres per person that is internationally considered to be the threshold for absolute scarcity, but below the 1,700 cubic metres level which the United Nations considers countries to be water stressed.