Omar Mgumba, the Deputy Minister for Agriculture made the call while addressing the 10th Annual Summit of the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF), in Kigali, via video link from Dodoma.
Mgumba noted Tanzania was ready for catalytic investments in agriculture to push the nation into a more industrialized economy, capture the internal and external market especially within the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) blocs and beyond.
At the moment, agriculture is one of the top contributors to the economy of Tanzania at 28% of GDP. Tanzania’s 2020/21 budget noted the private sector had invested about 3.7trilion/- (2015 to 2020) into the agriculture value chain particularly in tea, coffee, sisal, barley, and rice.
“Tanzania offers one of the most attractive investment destinations in Africa,” he posited. The country has experienced an average real GDP increase of about 6% in the last decade, and the deputy minister informed its economy was backed up by sufficient natural resources for raw materials.
“We have identified several major investment opportunities under the Agriculture Sector Development Program Phase 2 (ASDP II), Livestock Master Plan and the Tanzania Agro- Industries Development Flagship (TAIDF)”, he noted.
The country has unprecedented opportunities for investments in crop farming and related industries, thanks to a total of about 7.1 million ha of high and medium potential land (2.3 and 4.8 million ha respectively) suitable for irrigation, supported by rivers, lakes, wetlands and aquifers, he noted.
He said value addition of primary products influences the pattern of economic growth in the EAC second-largest economy.
“We have a clear long and medium-term policy frame for the economy in general and the agriculture sector in particular,” he noted.
“We have put in place a friendly environment for investors. We are an island of peace. Very, importantly, we have put in place great infrastructure projects opening up great possibilities for local and international markets,” he said.
The Deputy Minister assured those attending the AGRF summit, which was attended by over 10,000 delegates online, that Tanzania has made great strides on economic and infrastructure development with the assurance of reliable electrical power in all urban areas and most of the rural areas, giving investors an added advantage.
The deputy minister noted that Tanzania’s agribusiness economy was highly viable at local, regional and international level in terms of the high market possibilities. Tanzania has consistently in over a decade managed to move beyond food self-sufficiency, thus was ready for industrial development.
The East African food security powerhouse has myriad multi-billion dollar investment opportunities in agriculture, livestock and fisheries; large scale sugarcane and cotton ventures, deep-sea fishing, among others, he noted.
He gave the example of the opportunity for large scale farming for seeds multiplication.
“The annual demand of certified seeds is 187,000 tonnes while available is 76,725 tonnes, local supply is 69,173 tonnes, the import is 7,552 tonnes and traditional uncertified seeds are 110,274 tonnes,” he noted. Tanzania also has opportunities for investment in chemical industries (fertilizer production) because the country has enough natural gas and phosphate deposits.
The deputy minister said the recent policy changes in the livestock and fishing sectors (including deep-sea fishing) have greatly improved the investment climate and are in line with the ongoing implementation of the nation’s agriculture blueprint, ASDP II.
The government of Tanzania would continue to address challenges that might be hampering private-sector delivery, he noted, in the spirit of public-private partnership for the good of the country.
Investors in Tanzania are served by the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC), a one-stop centre, for all they need, TIC Executive Director, Dr Maduhu Kazi, told the AGRF summit, speaking from Dar es Salaam, via video link.
“We welcome all kinds of investors including strategic investors in the agriculture sector… we have a very improved enabling environment,” he noted.
There are diverse opportunities for investments in the agriculture sector, ranging from the chemical industry (fertilizers and pesticides); to agro-processing fishing and livestock industries, and many others, he said.
Vianey Rweyendela, AGRA Country Manager (Tanzania), noted that the Tanzanian government has demonstrated a clear political will to make agro-industrialization happen in a big way.
“We have diverse and multiple investment opportunities for agro-industrialization in Tanzania. Many strides have been made in agriculture sector development and the future is bright. All of these are possible because the current government has a clear political will to make agro-industrialization happen in a big way," Rweyendela noted.
He gave an example of an investment opportunity in maize.
“Maize is the most important food crop for us, and we are the largest producer of maize in East Africa, yet the crop is mostly used for porridge and ugali,” he noted.
“We need to industrialise the crop- make factories for producing corn oil, animal feeds, starch, among other products”, he continued.
“As one of the top producers of maize and cassava in Africa we should not be importing any starch, we should be exporting. It is a huge opportunity.”
Dr Andrew Komba, Director of Policy and Planning Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries-Fisheries Sector, told the summit that there were many investment opportunities to be found in the sector.
“We need investors in fish processing plants, fishery gears manufacturing (nets, boats etc), ecotourism along the beach, fishing of ornamental fish, aquaculture production (finfish, shrimps, crabs, seaweed etc) and production of aquaculture feed and seed. Other opportunities include cold chain facilities (transportation and storage), fishing Infrastructure (fishing ports, cold chain, fishing boats and vessels), fishing labs (Nyegezi in Mwanza and Dar es salaam), supporting protection units as well as fishing infrastructure (fishing ports, cold chain, fishing boats and vessels).
The virtual summit began on September 8 and ended on Friday, September 11. In Tanzania, some delegates attended online at set centres in Dodoma, Dar es Salaam and Arusha.