Stakeholders underline need for involvement programmes’ implementation

18Oct 2019
By Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Stakeholders underline need for involvement programmes’ implementation

PRIVATE sector stakeholders have called for broader engagement of the sector in the implementation of the Second Phase of the Agriculture Sector Development Programme (ASDP II) for it to achieve its target.

According to them, the programme has a number of challenges that thwart agriculture and trade development including regular government statements to ban farmers and traders from selling their produce outside the country.

Speaking during the ASDP II workshop organised by the Agricultural Council of Tanzania (ACT) here, the stakeholders underscored the need for the government to work closely with private sector and make the programme more inclusive in its implementation, decisions and in policy for best results.

“Political statements have been affecting our businesses very bad, especially the statements of closing borders to restrict traders from selling produce outside the country,” said Joseph Massimba from the Sokoine University Graduate Entrepreneurs Cooperative (SUGECO).

According to him, some traders have official permits and contracts on their hands which allow them to sell their produce outside the country, but they end up suffering due to the habitual political statements.

Sifa Gerana, a rice and maize trader said that “most of the businesspeople and farmers depend on foreign markets to sell their products so issuing ban statements to them becomes a very hurting punishment.”

For his part, a researcher, Apromius Mbilinyi said that it is high time for the private sector to start investing heavily in agriculture sector as the area has a number of opportunities especially in value addition.

“For examples, 70 percent of seeds are imported. This is a very good opportunity to invest, private sector should chip in and start investing in constructing storage facilities as 30 percent of food is lost during harvesting,”

Laetittia William, a senior policy officer at the Agricultural Council of Tanzania said that ASDP II has some legal and regulations issues which still need to be addressed to enable smooth implementation and best results.

“After this meeting, ACT will write a special document with all the concerns raised by private sector on the ASDP II and submit it to the government for more measures.”

Speaking during the meeting, an economist from the ministry of agriculture Milton Manyara acknowledged that the ASDP II had some challenges and the government was working to address them to improve agriculture and trade.

“There are still some issues of multiple levies, policies and laws but the government is working on them towards ensuring that the ASDP II is well implemented to bring more positive impacts,” he added.