AS the government battles to control post-harvest losses and cut prohibitive prices of fertilizer and improved seeds, Dr Charles Tizeba has appealed for huge investment in agriculture.
Addressing the just-ended 10th Tanzania National Business Council (TNBC) meeting at the State House in Dar es Salaam, the minister for agriculture, food, livestock and fisheries said that now that Tanzania wants to be a middle-income economy, serious promotion of agriculture is inescapable.
“ Promotion of agriculture is unavoidable when it comes to government’s determination to make Tanzania an industrial country because raw materials for those industries will be derived from crops,” Tizeba told the meeting chaired by President John Magufuli.
He told the meeting, which brings together varied and strategic representatives of the business community, that he firmly believes a middle-income Tanzania is feasible, but by giving agriculture a big push and channeling massive investments into the sector.
The minister said prices of fertilizers are very high, adding that several researches have shown that the best way out is to secure fertilizers using bulk procurement tendering. Reduced prices, he told the business community, will bring relief to farmers and encourage growth.
Tizeba said local improved seeds are more expensive than imported ones.
“It is strange to learn, for example, that one kilogram of imported seeds costs 1,500/- while a kg of locally grown seeds costs 7,000/-,” he told the meeting, adding that even the seeds are in short supply and seeds do not reach all farmers.
He reported that the post-harvest losses rate of all crops now stands at 48 per cent, adding that the ministry is exploring various options to control the losses.
President Magufuli said he was happy with the outcome of the meeting and called for a similar meeting in the nearest future.