SERIOUS agricultural investments through the Public–Private Partnerships (PPPs) are a panacea towards industrialisation of the country and building a middle-sized economy.
Tanzania’s Njombe Regional Commissioner Christopher Ole Sendeka said here yesterday that the government under President John Magufuli is determined to industrialise the country but unless agriculture was fully supported, the goal is unlikely.
“Our governments in Njombe and Iringa regions have been working closely with the private sector through PPPs in agriculture where smallscale farmers are exposed to commercial farming,” he said.
Speaking at a two day Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) organised Ihemi Cluster’s Review meeting, Mr Ole Sendeka said that industrialisation and building of the middle-sized economy were possible through sustainable commercial farming.
“The SAGCOT, particularly Ihemi cluster covers Iringa and Njombe regions, which are very rich and if fully exploited can feed the nation and serve as a reliable source of raw materials to industries,” he said.
He said the presence of SAGCOT in the region has helped to improve the agricultural patterns of smallholder farmers from traditional and commercial farming. “The government and all stakeholders have been preparing regulations and guidelines that could help to mitigate the climate change,” he said, adding that SAGCOT is also committed to protect the environment, including water resources.
Mr Ole Sendeka called on the meeting participants from both public and private sectors to discuss critically what would be the best way to increase the agricultural value chains in the Ihemi cluster and other clusters.
Speaking at the meeting, former Speaker of the National Assembly Anne Makinda who chairs the Tea Board of Tanzania, said the government agenda on industrialisation is most welcome, adding that agriculture has a great role to play.
“We support the drive of turning the country into industrial, middle-sized economy. Agriculture has its major role to play,” she said, calling for training and good supply of agricultural or farm inputs to farmers. Ms Makinda also stressed the need for enforcement of laws and regulations to allow farmers at all levels to benefit from commercial farming.
Earlier, SAGCOT Centre Ltd Chief Executive Officer Geoffrey Kirenga described the meeting as a platform to attract all key stakeholders from the public and private sectors.
“I take this opportunity to give our thanks to the government, development partners and farmers from the two regions under Ihemi Cluster,” Mr Kirenga said, noting that the two-day meeting will come up with good recommendations.
SAGCOT is funded through the government of Tanzania, UK Aid, World Bank Group, Norwegian Embassy, UN Development Programme and AGRA.