By Emmanuel Onyango
The European Union (EU) has pledged to cooperate with Tanzania government in its process of championing the industrialization drive currently being spearheaded by the fifth phase towards attaining the middle-income economy in the country.
The Head of EU Delegation in the country Ambassador Roeland Van Geer told the Azania post in an exclusive interview during the launching of the three agricultural projects which supports the cultivation of rice crops in the country which was held yesterday in Dar es Salaam.
The project to be implemented in two regions of Morogoro and Iringa is being supervised by three firms for which the EU has financed a total of Euros 4.5 million (Tshs. 12 million) to ensure effective implementation.
He said EU is ready to consider the necessary proposals over the matter whereby it will look in future the possibility of building capacity to small-scale farmers in the country to enable them to engage in cash crop production for industrial processing.
He said the industrialization process cannot grow without having raw materials that would support industries for the manufacturing processes, and in view of this, it is therefore imperative to concentrate in the growing of cash crops to boost agricultural farmers.
He said over the past 20 years the EU had been supporting a number of different commodities such as coffee, tea, cotton and sugar for industrial processing. But as time went by, things changed depending on the urgent demand for the local consumption.
,However, he noted that EU has been a long-standing partner in the agriculture sector in Tanzania with the current support exceeding Euros 140 million (over Tshs. 600 billion), but now the EU is supporting rice sector which is one of the priority value chains identified in the government’s new agricultural sector development program II.