THE Export and Processing Zones Authority (EPZA) has appealed to local and foreign investors to establish agro processing industries to take advantage of the huge availability of raw materials from the agriculture sector.
There are currently more than 170 industries that have been established under the EPZA and over 40 per cent are dealing with agro processing activities.
The Investment Promotion Manager at EPZA, Ms Grace Lemunge said at the ongoing Agriculture exhibitions-NaneNane in Simiyu Region that increasing investment in agro processing industries assures more value addition to crops and high return to farmers.
"EPZA is using this year's agricultural fair to invite investors to tap agriculture sector potentials in order to reduce and ultimately end export of raw products," she said, adding that the initiative is guaranteeing the country more foreign exchange and jobs to its people.
She said investing through the export processing zones and special economic zones, investors are provided with a wide range of incentives and quick return on investments.
Agriculture employs about 70 per cent of the country's active labour force and contributes around 30 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product.
It is through the increased investment in agro processing industries that farmers get assurance to raise production.
"Our participation in the NaneNane fair is of paramount importance because agriculture is not only necessary for providing food to Tanzanians but importantly the source of income to most families," she noted.
Tanzania is still having huge arable land suitable for farming thus more agro processing industries will push farmers to increase investment in agriculture in order to take advantage of the ready and reliable markets for the crops.
The Authority has been working closely with agro industries dealing with peas, lentils and other varieties of beans that have huge markets in India and Asian countries, linking them to farmers for obtaining raw materials.
Also, the EPZA has linked Sesame seeds processors to buy it from farmers and process it for foreign markets, particularly Asian and European countries.
The government has recently embarked on the construction of the Kurasini Trade and Logistic Centre for agro products aimed to transform and commercialise the agriculture sector.
This ambitious project which is billed to be the largest trade hub for agro products in the region is being implemented by the EPZA at a cost of about 30 million US dollars (over 60bn/-).
The trade hub will unlock immense market potentials for agriculture products to be traded through the Tanzania Mercantile Exchange (TMX), thus boosting farmers' earnings.
Through the project, the country is establishing its Tea and Trade Logistic Centre consisting of a tea collection centre, warehouses and tea processing facilities.
The authority plans to construct a one stop service centre that will bring together various regulators namely Tanzania Bureau of Standards, Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA), Atomic Energy Agency, Agriculture ministry and Tanzania Shipping Agency Corporation (TASAC).
Furthermore, EPZA in collaboration with other stakeholders is set to construct warehouses of international standards and agro processing industries for export of goods.