Tanzania has secured a significant investment of $400 million to enhance its agricultural programs, in a move set to drive the country’s agricultural sector forward.
The funding agreements were made with two major international financial institutions, namely the World Bank and the African Development Bank, during the African Food Systems Summit AGRF 2023 in Dar es Salaam.
The signing of the agreements marks a major milestone for Tanzania’s agricultural sector, as it demonstrates the commitment of both the government and international partners to prioritise and invest in the country’s agricultural development. The deals consist of a $300 million agreement with the WB and a $100 million pact with the AfDB.
Additionally, discussions are currently underway between the government and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (Ifad) regarding a potential $60 million commitment. These negotiations further emphasise the government’s determination to secure the necessary funding to bolster the agricultural sector and accelerate its growth.
Hussein Bashe, Tanzania’s Minister of Agriculture, highlighted the achievements the country has made in the agriculture sector, surpassing the government’s set targets. He stated that the country has not only focused on showcasing its agricultural products but has also prioritised financial resource mobilisation to support the sector’s growth.
During the summit, the government launched the irrigation plan called the Programme for Results (PforR), worth $300 million in partnership with the WB. Bashe further revealed that the bilateral agreement worth $100 million with the AfDB was also nearing conclusion. These initiatives underline the government’s proactive approach to fostering partnerships and securing the necessary funding for agricultural development.
The government has also sought to scale up its funding by engaging in discussions with Ifad, which has already shown commitment by pledging $60 million. The discussions between Tanzania’s Vice President, Philip Mpango, and Ifad’s vice president and management further reinforce the government’s commitment to driving growth in the agricultural sector through robust financial support.
The infusion of $400 million into Tanzania’s agricultural programs is expected to catalyse the sector’s growth, leading to enhanced agricultural productivity, improved food security, and increased incomes for farmers. The funding will enable the implementation of initiatives aimed at modernising and expanding irrigation systems, enhancing agricultural practices, promoting sustainable farming methods, and strengthening market access for farmers.
The government is currently engaged in discussions with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to explore the possibility of expanding irrigation projects. Additionally, a cooperation agreement has been signed between Norway and the Tanzania Agriculture Research Institute (TARI) to enhance research activities.
The Minister of Agriculture has confirmed that both sides have agreed to reinstate the Feed the Future Programme, and to strengthen collaboration on horticulture production, youth, and women. The Agriculture Transformation Office (ATO) has been inaugurated in preparation for the launch of the 2050 Country Development Plan, which will be aligned with the Agriculture Transformation Master Plan.
The government is also collaborating with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), and McKinsey & Company to prepare the Agriculture Transformation Master Plan. The Zanzibar President has launched a fundraising program for the Building Better Tomorrow (BBT).
The Minister has emphasised the importance of African countries complementing each other through comparative advantages, rather than competing, in order to effectively confront international financial infrastructures.
The speaker emphasised the need for African nations to unite in order to counter the world financial systems and achieve equity in resource mobilisation, particularly in the agriculture sector. He questioned the restrictions placed on African countries to use coal and charcoal for energy, given their relatively low contribution to global pollution compared to developing nations. He welcomed discussions on these issues, but stressed that they can only be effectively addressed through a unified approach on the international stage.
Mr. Bashe clarified that while some institutions may encourage Tanzania to produce crops like soya, this should not come at the expense of reducing investment in other profitable areas like rice farming. Instead, African countries should complement each other in resource mobilisation, production, and marketing to lift citizens out of poverty. He cited the example of Tanzania’s potential for greater profits in avocado farming compared to flowers, and urged the allocation of limited funds towards areas of maximum profitability.