THE United States of America has commended Tanzania for the commitment to formulate agribusiness friendly policies for the sector to grow and improved food security.
The US Ambassador to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Rome, David Lane, said this in Dar es Salaam at the end of his five-day Food Security Focused Media Tour to Tanzania that the Kilimo Kwanza (green revolution) initiative adopted by the country was impressive.
Mr Lane said that the initiative has proved that the national leadership has showed commitment to promote agricultural development in the country. "I am encouraged by the way the UN Agencies, private sector, Tanzanian farmers and development partners are working together with the government of Tanzania to strengthen agriculture and improve the future of the country," Lane explained.
He said communities and projects visited during his stay proved that despite the challenges faced investing in smallholder agriculture could substantially improve food security and help local economies thrive. FAO Country Representative, Diana Tempelma, said Tanzania has enormous potential for increased agricultural productivity which is needed, not only to feed its rapidly increasing urban population, but also to stop overall development of the growing nation.
Eighty-five per cent of the economically active population in Tanzania works in agriculture. The sector is dominated by smallholder farmers with average land holdings of two acres. Production is largely subsistent and pre-dominantly rain-fed. USAID Feed the Future Team leader, Tom Hobgood said his office and other development partners were supporting Tanzania-led efforts to increase productivity and incomes of smallholder farmers especially women.
WFP Country Representative, Richard Ragan said: "With support from the US, improving food security and helping develop commercial opportunities for smallholder farmers is top priority of WFP work in Tanzania," he said. Among community projects visited included those in Maili Sita, Hai district in Kilimanjaro region where skills in modern farming are shared among community members together with mushroom production. The team also visited Mkuranga in Coast region on similar purposes.