TANZANIA: HELLO to our industry friends and everyone reading this in Tanzania and the world.
Do you know the feeling when you spot a goldmine waiting to be explored? That is where we are right now with our livestock and fisheries - our very own ' Green and Blue Economy'. Let's unpack this exciting journey together.
Livestock: From Grass to Greatness Tanzania has so much to show the world. Think of our vast open spaces, rich cultures and old farming traditions. But did you know that we also house some of the largest numbers of animals including cows, goats, sheep, poultry and other unique small ruminants in Africa? You might have heard more about our precious stones or our stunning tourist places, but our animals, too, hold a big piece of our country's income pie, making up about 7 per cent of our GDP with a growth of 3 per cent annually.
Now, if that sounds big, imagine this: With the right push, we can make it even bigger. Of course, it's not a walk in the park. We've got to tackle things like getting our products to bigger markets, teaching our farmers the latest tricks of the trade and making sure our animals are healthy enough to compete in global markets. The good news is where there's a will, there's a way. We're diving deep, investing in our beautiful ranches, holding lands, breeding centres, better roads, research and extension services and training programmes for our farmers, especially youths and women.
Next up, our waters! Have you ever stood by our vast Indian Ocean coastline that stretches for over 1,424 kilometres? Or thought about our large inland water bodies like Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika, The Great Ruaha River and other rivers and lakes? This isn't just about beautiful beaches or vacation spots. It's also about opportunities, jobs and growth.
Despite these vast waters, fishing only adds 1.4 per cent to our GDP. That means there's so much more we can catch - not just fish, but opportunities! Imagine expanding our fishing nets to include things like tuna farming or even growing special plants like seaweed in the sea. For this big dream to come true, we're looking to collaborate with international experts, bring in investors and most importantly, get our local communities pumped up and ready to seize these opportunities.
When Land Meets Water Here's a cool thought: What if our farms and waters could help each other out? Think about the leftovers from fish farming making our land richer, while the stuff we don't use from our farms becomes food for our fish. It's like nature's own recycle bin, where one man's trash becomes another fish's treasure!
What makes all of this truly special? You, me, all of us. We believe that our people are the real stars of the show. That's why we're thinking big - bringing in programmes that don't just hand our farmers and fishers tools, but also teach them how to use them smartly. It's like moving from riding bicycles to driving rocket-powered cars. We want our people to think bigger, grow bigger, earn bigger to beat poverty and prosper for generations.
We invite the World to Join Us in this vision and the journey we have embarked on. To all our friends across the globe, our doors are wide open. But we've got one clear rule: if you're coming in, make sure you're bringing good vibes and good values. We want partners who respect our people, our land and our waters. We're all about growth, but not at the cost of our environment or fairness.
We encourage public and private investment. We collaborate with the Private Sector, the heart of our success. The ministerial commitment is ready to support investments, by ensuring that the best business environment is in place. We have in place the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Private Sector Desk and a special team to address all investment processes and challenges at the sector level.
I see many opportunities along the livestock and fisheries value chains which the private sector can grab! At lower levels of livestock value chains, opportunities such as improved breed development, vaccines and drugs, research and extension services, capacity building and training, investing in poultry, goats, sheep, small ruminants and cattle ranches for dairy and beef; holding lands, abattoirs, laboratories, animal feed, processing plants, logistic, data and ICT. Fisheries, deep sea fishing, processing and packaging, aquaculture including fish feed production. Let us utilise the geo-economic position of Tanzania that presents a gateway to Southern, Central and East Africa; the Middle East and Asia! Our private sector desk is there to guide investors!
Public-private partnerships in livestock and fisheries will not only open economic opportunities in the ecosystem but also contribute to nutrition solutions given the importance of this sub-sector in the food system, bearing in mind that animal source consumption is an important indicator in the National Multisectoral Action Plan.
Looking Ahead with Hope, Wearing the hat of the Minister for Livestock and Fisheries, my dream for Tanzania is simple: Growth that benefits everyone. We're dreaming of modern ways, better infrastructure, and constantly churning out new ideas. It's time for not just baby steps, but giant leaps.
If you're as excited as I am about the robust opportunities our lands and waters offer and if you believe in a better, brighter tomorrow, come join the party. Together, let's write a story - a story of transformation and economic emancipation where we set the stage for our kids, their kids and the many generations to come.
Thank you, or as we say it here in Tanzania, Asanteni Sana.
The writer, Abdallah Hamis Ulega, is the Minister for Livestock and Fisheries in Tanzania and Mkuranga Member of Parliament.