Creation of favourable policy environment crucial for agriculture

14Feb 2020
James Kandoya
The Guardian
Creation of favourable policy environment crucial for agriculture

THE country’s foreign money used to import food staffs has dropped to US $ 200 from US $ 600 following the government review of agricultural policies, analysts said yesterday.

Angela Kairuki

Speaking during the 6th Annual Agricultural Policy conference (AAPC) in the country’s capital—Dodoma, Coordinator of Policy Analysis Group (PAG) David Nyange said the government has reviewed more than 200 policies to ensure conducive environment that could enable investors in various sectors including agriculture.

The conference which attracted 150 participants was jointly organised by PAG in collaboration with the Ministry for Agriculture and other ministries. Themed ‘Public and Private Sector Investment for Agricultural Transformation in Tanzania’ it brought together the academia, researchers, policy makers and advocacy groups.

Nyange noted that despite efforts to improve the agriculture sector and progress in policy reforms, there is need to address remaining challenges to create a favourable policy environment to accelerate agriculture transformation, food security and nutrition and poverty reduction.

“It will take another 52 years to completely eliminate poverty in Tanzania unless there are drastic improvements in agricultural sector or slow down in population growth,” he said.

He commended the government for scrapping unnecessary fees charged to the local processors of agricultural goods and small scale entrepreneurs. He said merging of some regulatory authorities was a good move towards improving policy environment.

Nyange added: “We must ensure economic growth to reduce poverty. It is virtually impossible for a poor country to reduce poverty without enhancing economic growth”.

The PAG Coordinator appealed to the government to reduce cooperate tax currently charged at 30 percent while in neighbouring countries such as Zambia and Mozambique they charge only 10 percent.

Addressing delegates, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (Investment) Angela Kairuki said the government is reviewing its investment policy to create an enabling environment for investors in both, agriculture and livestock sub-sector.

Kairuki informed that various moves are aimed at improving the agriculture and livestock sectors and increase its contribution to the Nation Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The minister said the government plans to sign Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the private sector to further improve the sector as well as ensure accountability.

“Since most Tanzanians depend in agriculture, it is high time we consider setting good investment policy in agriculture sector”, said the minister.

Agricultural Non State Actor Forum (ANSAF) Executive Director, Audax Rukonge said the conference provides an opportunity for agricultural stakeholders and the government to assess progress in implementation of policy reforms.