11 December 2012

Tanzania: Kigoda Launches Book On Agribusiness

LACK of clear linkage in the value chain and trading of low quality commodities were yesterday cited as the major issues that require immediate solution for productive agribusiness.

Industry and Trade Minister Dr Abdallah Kigoda said at the launch of the "Agribusiness for Africa's Prosperity" book that well articulated agribusiness was inevitable in a country where 75 per cent of its population are peasants.

One of the critical questions that the government struggles to address, he said, is to ensure the achievements and benefits at the macro level are translated and filtered to the state of well-being of the majority 'wananchi.'

"When we analyse the state of the economy, the government, World Bank, the UN system, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and development partners portray a positive economic development growth," he said. However, the challenge is the question posed by the majority who want to feel the positive economic development if the economy is recording higher.

The book is a wakeup call for the government to put more emphasis on transforming agriculture and prioritise agribusiness that has potential for job creation, production capacity, efficiency, quality improvement, increased incomes and poverty reduction.

The book will provide a significant input to the initiatives of "Kilimo Kwanza" and the "Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania" (SAGCOT) established in recent years. During discussions on the book, issues that affect agribusiness in the country and Africa in general like energy and infrastructure, private sector participation and the role of foreign direct investment (FDI) surfaced.

The book is expected to build a strong case for agribusiness development as a path to Africa's prosperity. It is meant to be an important resource for policymakers, agribusiness managers and researchers in agribusiness development.

There is an increasing awareness among development actors that shifting production towards high value agricultural products or off-farm activities would have an immediate beneficial effect on employment and income generation, through value addition and ultimately on widespread inclusive growth and poverty reduction.

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