“Everything we produce in the agriculture sector is needed somewhere in the world,” noted Prof Siza Tumbo, Deputy Permanent Secretary-Ministry of Agriculture, opening up the 2021 Agribusiness Dealroom in-country launch for Tanzania on 26/08/2021, an event organised by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).
The in-country deal room was attended by agriculture line ministries officials, private sector members, AGRA Vice president Vanessa Adam, IFAD Country officer Jacquiline Machangu, among others. It was moderated by Peniel Lyimo, retired Permanent Secretary, who has served different dockets involved in agriculture development.
In addition to ensuring Tanzania remains food secure, Prof Tumbo was adamant that more exports of agricultural goods would lead to significant productivity, leading to the creation of agriculture driven wealth among smallholder farmers. It was paramount for Tanzania to gain more access to the global market for agriculture produce so as to propel smallholder farmers to increase production significantly and be able to compete by lowering prices while still earning comfortable profit margins, he noted. To catalyze the growth of agribusiness, the government and private sector must work together to open up market opportunities for smallholder farmers in a way that ensures youth and women are not left behind, he noted. Prof. Tumbo cited soybeans exports in 2019/2021 as about 3500 tonnes, but in 2020/2021 had risen to 60,000 tonnes after concerted public-private partnership efforts. Such a milestone indicates other crops can find markets worldwide, and join the traditional agricultural exports like tea, coffee, tobacco, cotton, and cashew nuts. The deputy PS called for strong public-private partnerships (PPPs) at home and, on the other hand, with investors from around the world to make sure Tanzania agriculture produces reliable markets from around the globe.
He said the world market was huge for the maize compared to the about 1 million tonnes Tanzania had to offer, so market linkages were needed. “Our strategy is to become more competitive by increasing productivity,” he noted. The Agribusiness Deal Room is a matchmaking platform at the annual African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF), which will take place in Nairobi from September 6th 2021. Agriculture deputy minister, Hussein Bashe has previously indicated that Tanzania will bid to host the forum in 2023.Vianey Rweyendela, AGRA Tanzania Country Manager, explained that the deal room enables public and private sector as well as investors to link up to transform small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in agribusiness into bigger enterprises that can support big numbers of smallholder farmers. It makes the whole value chain more profitable, he noted.
‘'We aim to reach more smallholder farmers. Partnerships that promote inclusiveness agribusiness growth are essential,” Vianey said, urging Tanzanians in agribusiness to participate in big numbers in the 2021 Deal Room and pitch to access finance and partnership opportunities. Thanks to last year’s dealroom, two Tanzania SMEs and a cooperative society - G2L Co, Wakulima Agri-Food Company and Sokoine University Graduate Entrepreneurs Cooperative (SUGECO), were at advanced stages in negotiations with financiers. “The entities are likely to clinch deals which will potentially open up room for them to grow exponentially,” noted Rweyendela. He noted that Tanzania’s participation in AGRF, including dealroom and thereafter UN Food Systems Summit (FSS), was vital in the battle to achieve a sustainable food system, and in the case of Tanzania, where the smallholder farmer is at the centre stage. Private sector representative Mr Geoffrey Kirenga, also Southern Agricultural Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) CEO, noted that the private sector in Tanzania works closely with smallholder farmers, and public and private sector partnerships are vital for growth. He warned that food imports were like importing jobs, whereas in Tanzania, the country is more than capable of producing enough for food security and sale to the global market. He called for concerted efforts to grow agribusiness into a formidable export business and help create over eight million jobs in the coming five years. He expressed gratitude to AGRA for facilitating increased participation of private sectors in Tanzania, including crafting the Tanzania Agro-industries Development Flagship (TAIDF). Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC), which facilitates investors to establish manufacturing projects in Tanzania, among other investments, noted there were myriad investment opportunities in the agriculture sector. Ms Diana Ladislaus reported investment opportunities ranging from manufacturing agriculture implements and machinery, processing, sugar, cotton, edible oils, livestock, and fisheries.