Tanzania: Produce Enough Rice to Export to Neighbours - Minister


The minister for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Charles Mwijage, has challenged the Usangu Marketing Company to produce enough rice in order to export the product to neighbouring countries. The minister issued the advice when he visited the company's pavilion at the Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair (DITF) industrial exhibitions on Thursday.

Usangu Marketing Company is a product of the Marketing Infrastructure Value Addition and Rural Finance (MIVARF) programme that was designed by the Tanzania government in collaboration with the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

According to the company's Lead Consultant, Savior Mbele, the eight-year-old company which is dealing with production of rice has 50 shareholders who are farmers.

They produce the highest quality of rice sold at 2,000 per kilogramme.

The company has a capital of over 10m/- according to Mr Mbele. At the ongoing industrial exhibition organised by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment through the Tanzania Trade Development Authority (TANTRADE), Mr Mbele said his company received many people visiting the pavilion and that when the exhibitions kicked off on Wednesday, there were 350 kilogrammes bought in three days.

Yesterday, his company added 50 kilogrammes he believed would have been all sold by the end of the exhibitions today. "Some of the people who bought our rice have been coming back to get more for their stock after finding out that it was the best," he added.

In Tanzania, agriculture is a significant driver for growth and a major source of income, employment and food security for the rural population. In Mainland Tanzania, for instance, agriculture employs more than 75 per cent of the labour force.

However, among major constraints to full exploitation of agricultural potential are limited access to financial services by smallholder rural producers and traders, poor rural market infrastructure and inadequate value addition in agricultural produce. As part of the endeavour to address these constraints, the Tanzanian government in collaboration with AfDB and IFAD designed the MIVARF.

Implementation of MIVARF is aligned with other national development strategies including the 2001 Agricultural Sector Development Strategy (ASDS) which envisaged an agricultural sector that, by 2025, is modernized and commercial, highly productive and profitable and utilises natural resources in a sustainable manner.

According to Mr Mbele, the MIVARF Programme under the auspices of the Prime Minister's Office, aims at reducing rural poverty and accelerate economic growth on a sustainable basis. The Programme Development Objective is to enhance incomes and food security of the target group on a sustainable basis.

MIVARF will achieve this through enhanced access of poor rural households to a broad range of financial services, coupled with the necessary capacity building and linkage to markets.


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