Agriculture in the United Republic of Tanzania represents almost 30 percent of the country’s GDP with three quarter of the country’s workforce involved in this sector. Agriculture is undoubtedly the largest and most important sector of the Tanzanian economy, with the country benefitting from a diverse production base that includes livestock, staple food crops and a variety of cash crops.
The visit was organised and coordinated through SABA which saw the itinerary focus on meeting with SABA members who could contribute to the development of the wider Tanzanian agriculture sector.
Hosted by SABA member the University of Edinburgh at the Roslin Institute on the Easter Bush agriculture campus, the visit offered a chance for SABA members to hear up to date information on the agriculture sector in Tanzania and the priorities of the government.
SABA members including The University of Edinburgh, James Hutton Institute, Scotmas, Casammak and Aquaculture benefited from the private meeting with the delegation. Also in attendance was SABA board members and African agriculture expert Elaine Alexander.
The visit was arranged due to the expertise, educational links, and relationship with SABA. Topics discussed included livestock genetics, potato and crop yield improvement, supporting a new aquaculture sector, and working to encourage Tanzanian youth to the sector.
Scottish Africa Business Association, CEO, Frazer Lang: “Tanzania is an important growing market and I look forward to strengthening our ties and expanding the opportunities for SABA members to support the exciting opportunities that exist. These discussions represent a great opportunity to learn first-hand about the market and help build strong connections in country.”
There are plenty of business opportunities in Tanzanian agriculture across domestic, regional, and international markets, for both traditional and new products. However, productivity is low with modest progress over the past two decades. It is dominated by smallholder farmers dependent on rainfall for irrigation. Farmers and other sector stakeholders face considerable challenges in modernising the industry to increase yields, exports, and value-added processing. Slowing export revenues; land acquisition hurdles; and smallholder farmers struggling to access economically viable technology, adequate storage facilities, markets and credit have affected the sector.
The government is taking measures to address these challenges by introducing subsidises to farmers and investors as well as removing unnecessary levies that have been seen to hamper growth of the sector. The government has also sought foreign financing and expertise for its flagship project Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) designed to quickly develop the region’s agricultural potential. These wide-reaching efforts should see production levels of key crops return to growth in the coming years, helping boost value-added processing in the sector.
H.E Dr. Asha-Rose Migiro, High Commissioner of the United Republic of Tanzania to the UK, said: “This was a very impressive meeting, it’s not often we get such high-level engagement in one room, and I have the confidence to recommend SABA and it’s members to the relevant authorities in Tanzania.”
Outcomes include the High Commission linking SABA members to relevant counterparts and agreement on an online meeting early in the new year with relevant Tanzanian officials, the private sector and SABA members.