THE World Bank (WB) and Tanzania have signed a credit agreement of 310 million US dollars (about 489bn/-) being a 40-year soft loan assistance to be allocated to various projects, including the improvement of the voucher system in the agricultural sector.
According to WB Country Director, Mr Philip Gongier, Tanzania will benefit from the assistance in three major sectors including the improvement of the Urban Local Government Strengthening Programme (ULGSP) which will get 255 million US dollars.
Other sectors include the Agricultural Sector Development Programme (ASDP) which will get 30 million US dollars, enabling farmers in 132 local government authorities to have better access to use of agricultural knowledge, technologies and marketing systems. 'Additional financing of 25 million US dollars will be injected into initiatives that envisage higher food production and productivity in 20 regions. This will involve improving farmers' access to critical agricultural inputs like seeds and fertilizers," he said. On the ULGSP, he said, the financing will improve the financial and management performance of 18 LGAs for the enhancement of delivery of services to about 2.6 million people, particularly in urban local government authorities.
The funding also targets to boost farmers' knowledge and awareness in areas of promotion of agricultural private investment based on an improved regulatory and policy environment. 'ULGSP is the first operation in the bank's Africa region to be delivered under a new financing instrument known as Programme for Results (P for R)," he said. According to the agreement, the funds in that category can also be used to prepare and build municipal infrastructure such as roads, markets, solid waste management and public spaces. On the Accelerated Food Security Project, Mr Gongier said Tanzania can benefit for ensuring timely delivery of seeds and fertilizers to about 300,000 farmers through Tanzania National Agriculture Input Voucher System (NAIVS), that has already distributed more than 15 million vouchers to more than 2.5 million households.
The funding to ASDP will target more than 285,000 farmers to access knowledge in agriculture as well as irrigation infrastructure and expecting to add to over 120,822 hectares of irrigated farms that have been already established under the programme so far. Speaking shortly after the signing ceremony, the Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs, Dr William Mgimwa, said the country was grateful to WB regular assistance to the country. He promised that the funds would be spent as intended.