Dar es Salaam — The World Bank stressed on Tuesday December 3, 2019 the need for Tanzania to take steps that will improve performance of agriculture sector, saying the sector has opportunities for poverty reduction.
The sector's policy, regulatory environment and investments need to be improved but the institution said recent signs of transformation are encouraging.
"The current trends in agriculture offer a tremendous opportunity to catalyze private investment, both local and foreign, and raise the incomes of the poor," said the World Bank Country Director for Tanzania Ms Bella Bird.
"Since agriculture already accounts for a quarter of total GDP and two-thirds of jobs, enhanced agricultural growth must be part of the strategy to create more and better jobs and alleviate poverty," she said at a function to present the 13th Tanzania Economic Update, a report which focused on agriculture potentials.
In the report titled 'Realizing the Potential of Agriculture for Inclusive Growth and Poverty Reduction,' the authors underscore the importance of having supportive public policies and spending which crowds in more private investments needed to catalyze a nascent agriculture transformation.
"What we are seeing for example is that medium-sized farms grew from 23 per cent of all farm land holdings in the country in 2008 to 35 per cent in 2014; and these are in the 5-20 hectare (ha) range, compared to the typical smallholding of 1-2 ha, whose numbers are decreasing" said Holger Kray, World Bank Agriculture Practice Manager and co-author of the report.
The report shows that the 368,000 medium-scale farms added in Tanzania between 2008 and 2014 created 13 million days of additional work annually for hired workers.
The agriculture sector provides livelihoods directly to around 55 per cent of the population (and three quarters of the poor) and indirectly to a further 15 per cent within related value chain functions such as traders, transporters and processors, according to the report.
The Tanzania Economic Update series is published twice year.