Kikwete urges African leaders to support private sector involvement

17Jul 2021
The Guardian Reporter
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Kikwete urges African leaders to support private sector involvement

FORMER President and board member of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) JakayaKikwete has urged African governments to create a conducive environment for private sector participation as a way of speeding up the sought-after agricultural transformation.

Kikwete made the call on Wednesday during a press conference in Dar es Salaam, which was also attended by Hailemariam Dessalegn, former Ethiopia Prime Minister and AGRA Board Chair, Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Hussein Bashe, and Prof. Riziki Shemdoe, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry in the President’s Office in charge of Regional Administration and Local Government (PO-RALG).

In his remarks, Kikwete recommended the development of public infrastructure including roads, electricity, and market structures, which he described as necessary for attracting private sector participation in agricultural value chains.

Agreeing with Kikwete, Bashe said that his government's investment in infrastructure and policy development had helped increase private sector investment in Tanzania's food value chains to nearly 4trillion/- (US$1.7billion) in three years.

The Deputy Minister further announced that the government had prepared a ready market for the country's maize farmers as a way to incentivize more production.

"With this year’s bumper harvest, the government will from August buy each kilogram of maize from farmers at Tsh. 500 (USD 0.22)," he said. The 500/- (USD 0.15) is a 43 percent increase from the 350/- that the National Food Reserve Agency paid for a kilo of maize in 2020.

Dessalegn announced that AGRA will support the Government of Tanzania's agro-industrialization development program.

"AGRA will work with the government on its industrialization agenda that seeks to drive the country's diversification and expansion of agro-industries. AGRA will work with sector-line ministries to mobilize both technical and financial resources," he said.

Dessalegn further invited all agriculture stakeholders to the 2021 AGRF Summit which will be hosted by the Government of Kenya from September 6 -10.

The Board Chair has been in Tanzania since Friday last week as part of a cross-Africa tour to witness the impact of AGRA's work, while mobilizing political goodwill and private sector participation in the transformation of the continent's food systems. He has so far travelled to Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and Burkina Faso. From here, Kikwete takes over the role as he visits Uganda, Zambia and Mozambique.

To pick up the momentum, Kikwete joined Dessalegn in an engagement with stakeholders from Tanzania's seed sector on Thursday morning. The purpose of the session was to share the progress that has been made so far in seed subsector development in Tanzania, with support from AGRA and other development partners.

 The seed program has been a key area of focus for AGRA since 2006 when it started operations in Tanzania. The subsector has remained central to AGRA’s strategy and operations even as it opens new areas of investment in policy and advocacy, soil health and market development.

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