25 July 2016

Tanzania: Tractor Assembly to Begin At Makeshift Factory in Kibaha

Photo: Liberia's Ministry of Agriculture
(file photo).

The government is looking for temporary premises to begin tractor assembling by Polish tractor firm, Ursus S. A, as construction of an assembling plant is scheduled to begin this financial year at Kibaha in Coast Region.

The Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Adelhem Meru, confirmed to the 'Daily News' yesterday that the project, which is part of a 110 million US dollars soft loan from Poland, would begin at a temporary location while construction plans for an assembling factory were being finalised.

"We are looking for a temporary premise for assembling work to begin immediately before the construction of the plant starts," he said over the phone on the planned tractor assembling plant billed to be one of the largest factories of its kind in East Africa.

The assembling factory is to produce about 2,400 tractors annually for local consumption and for selling to other East African countries, Dr Meru said. The National Service, JKT, economic wing, SUMA JKT, signed a contract with Ursus in 2015 for the delivery of 2,400 tractors, tools and spare parts - and it includes equipping an assembly hall and service centres within the country.

The signing of the agreement was witnessed by former Prime Minister, Mr Mizengo Pinda, the Minister for Defence and National Service, Dr Hussein Mwinyi and former Polish Lech Wałesa.

The agreement was an outcome of Mr Pinda's visit to Poland in 2014 where the East European country committed itself to provide 110 million US dollars for the supply of tractors and cereal storage facilities.

"Our visit to Poland was to seek assistance for construction of silos to solve the acute problem of cereal storage, across the country." But (Poland) said they want to mechanise our agriculture as well and are ready to share knowledge," Mr Pinda was quoted as saying during the signing ceremony. According to the former premier, Tanzania suggested that the tractor supply deal should not end at supply but also assemble them locally, to which Poland agreed.

Former Polish president, Mr Walesa said he is committed to see the tractor project become a success story in a short period, as the parties concerned have the ability to do so. The contract marked Ursus' third deal in Africa, a market that many Polish entrepreneurs are trying to cultivate at present.

A Polish-African Economic Forum was held in the Polish parliament in May, last year and the Polish government has launched a programme called 'Go Africa' to boost economic ties. Agriculture is Tanzania's economy mainstay, contributing nearly 30 per cent to the total economy and 67 per cent to total employment during 2014.

The sector dominated by small-scale holders, accounts for about one fifth of the foreign earnings and supports the livelihoods of more than two thirds of the population. It has forward linkages with the non-farm sector through agro-processing, consumption and export and provides raw materials to industries and a market for manufactured goods.

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