Tanzania readies to tap its potential in agri-business

Arusha. Tanzania has sought to promote investment in the country by creating an enabling business environment through strategic reforms in various strategic economic sectors, including agriculture.

Agriculture is the economic backbone of many developing countries. It contributes about 25 percent of GDP in low-income countries, and 80 percent of the extreme poor live in rural areas.

To achieve better agricultural practices, African countries need to review their policy reforms to support agriculture, including seed supply, fertilizer registration, water assurance, machinery registration, livestock maintenance, plant health protection, food trade and access to finance.

Compared to other parts of the world, agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa faces the toughest regulatory challenges, according to a World Bank survey.

However, countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including Tanzania, are trying to improve the business climate by carrying out reforms and ensuring compliance with the global economic conditions recommended by international organizations.

Tanzania has made efforts to encourage investment by creating an enabling business environment through strategic reforms to ensure regulatory barriers are removed.

With reforms underway in several countries, global agricultural production is expected to increase by 20% over the next decade as farming techniques become more efficient, according to the World Bank.

Mr. Solomon Baregu, Head of the Agricultural Business Components of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Head of the Agribusiness Components of the International Finance Corporation (IBE) Program, said that several challenges have been identified in the agriculture sector, including various import processes and registration. pesticides and agrochemicals in Tanzania.

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development organization focused on the private sector in developing countries, including Tanzania. It offers investment, advisory and asset management services to promote the development of the private sector in less developed countries.

Mr. Baregu has spearheaded agribusiness policy and regulatory reforms identified in the government’s Tanzania Business Environment Improvement Plan, reducing regulatory compliance burdens and costs for businesses.

So Blueprint wants to unlock the challenge faced by business sectors, horticulture.

It also provides a guide to achieving the dream of industrialization in the shortest possible time by creating the necessary business environment where government and the private sector work together to realize the dream.

Therefore, IFC and other development partners, including the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), with the support of the European Union (EU), have joined the government to ensure that reforms are carried out for the sake of efficiency. the sector

Mr. Baregu reveals that since 2017, analyzes of the national policy framework governing the horticulture sector have been carried out, including sector strategies, institutional frameworks and stakeholder maps. The analyzes delivered to stakeholders on October 22-23, 2018 identified the main priority areas to address the challenges facing the sector.

A comprehensive review of the Tropical Pesticides Research Institute Act, 1979 and The Plant Protection Act, 1997 revealed the urgent need to streamline the TPRI and the Plant Health Service unit of the Ministry of Agriculture to reduce duplication and costs incurred by businesses.

In 2020, the government established the Tanzania Plant Health and Pesticides Authority (TPHPA), which replaced TPRI and PHS.

IFC, in collaboration with other government authorities, decided to review two institutions, the Tropical Pesticides Research Institute (TPRI) and the Tanzania Plant Health and Pesticides Authority (TPHPA), which had duplicated roles as outlined in the Blueprint.

The IFC, together with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), has since been helping the government to put in place the tools that will enable the authority to carry out its day-to-day activities and regulate the sector.

Mr. Baregu praises the government’s efforts, especially to fulfill the country’s main agenda of raising the value of horticulture exports to $2 trillion by 2030 (from the current annual revenue of $779 million) through continuous business reforms, creating more jobs, increasing productivity and eventually marketing everything. horticulture value chain.

He says that turning the reform recommendation into reality has been a fruitful engagement with the government, and once the regulations are approved, the compliance costs faced by companies in the agricultural value chain will be reduced by 15 percent.

Mr. Mushobozi Baitani, FAO’s Plant Protection and Integrated Pest Management Specialist, says participation in this program is aimed at improving import control, quality and safety through the project “Strengthening Plant Health Services for Food Safety in Tanzania”. to export products.

The aim, according to him, is to ensure that any agricultural commodity arriving in Tanzania is free of pest and pesticide residue contamination.

According to research carried out before the reforms, Tanzania was denied market access for some products in India, China and South Africa due to the so-called “forty plagues”, which were pests that affected the quality of the fruits. it is not properly institutionalized in the country. Mr. Baitani added that FAO has the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), whose treaty prohibits the export of agricultural products that will cause concern in any member country.

And Tanzania, being among the 163 member countries that are parties to the IPPC treaty, could no longer export agricultural products for this reason, but the problem had already been resolved for two reasons, market access and the results of the European Union (EU) audit. .

With the reforms underway, FAO officials believe the sector will open up more opportunities for horticulture in Tanzania to thrive.

Mr. Baitani says Tanzania therefore needed a strong institutionalized system to work on pesticide issues. Therefore, the TPHPA is in addition to the reform of other regulations to improve the business environment.

Following the reform of the Plant Protection Act 1998 to the Plant Health Act 2020, TPHPA was able to be implemented and other improvements made, including a pest surveillance system that tracks shipments, which allowed Tanzania to maintain its market access. China and other countries.

A systematic approach is now in place to deliver 100 percent safe shipments to the international market.

A simple registration procedure for biopesticide chemicals has also been introduced to ensure proper export of the products.

According to Mr. Baitani, all border posts will also be renovated, as small laboratories are being rehabilitated and diagnostic equipment is being installed.

Additionally, local laboratories have been accredited to verify pest residues right here in the country at an affordable cost before sending the products (shipments) to other countries.

Therefore, the export is expected to grow steadily from 30 percent to 60 percent after the completion of the Plant health project, he said.

Ms Farida Mfinanga of Twino Enterprises Limited, which sells agricultural inputs, says the implementation of the TPHPA opens a new chapter in the export and management of pesticides in the country.

This, he said, ensures quality assurance as farmers use the right ingredients to get the best product, as the TPHPA conducts regular inspection of pesticides at stores and checks at borders.

“We no longer expect counterfeit or expired pesticides,” he says.

And this ensures investors and exporters control of the horticultural value chain from farm to market.

Mr. Shridhar Chaudhary, an exporter at Moonlight Tanzania Limited, says he decided to invest in Tanzania’s horticulture sector because of the favorable environment created by ongoing reforms, among others. What he mostly believes is that his products reach the European market fresh, thanks to the cold storages he has invested in.

“I have been enjoying investing in Tanzania since I came here from Ghana last year, where I invested in 3,000 hectares of maize for export.”

Mr. Chaudhary says that working with TPHPA has been much easier for him, and through the user-friendly Agricultural Trade Management Information System (ATMIS), his export process has become much easier, allowing him to export 60 to 70 tons of horticultural produce every week. Using between 12-14 days to reach the European market.

He says the Tanzania Horticultural Association (Taha) has linked him with hard-working farmers who are helping him produce Yard Long Beans, Chinese Bitten Melon and Habanero for export to Europe, among others.

If the reforms are fully implemented, he says Tanzania will be a much better place to invest, and he will do business here for life.

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