Tanzania plans to invest 170 billion Tanzanian shillings ( $72.4 million) in a five year ambitious project to transform its agriculture sector under the second phase of its National Agricultural Sector Development Plan.
The budget was tabled before parliament earlier this week by the country’s the Minister for Agriculture, Dr Charles Tizeba and represents the whole amount that his ministry plans to invest for the next fiscal year 2018/19.
The budget covers the ministry’s development expenditure as well as its recurrent operation expenses however, it is notably several millions short of last year’s proposal which was 214 billion Tanzanian shillings ($91.2 million).
To achieve the transformation, the ministry is targeting four major areas:
- Renewable water sources
- Land conservation
- Environment protection and
- Increased use of irrigation schemes
To achieve these changes, the minister made it clear that his ministry will also invest in effecting a paradigm shift among farmers
“We need to change the mind sets of our farmers completely, we need to be more environment conscious and business oriented adapting modern farming practices like irrigation schemes…we cant rely on the old rain fed agriculture,” Dr Tizeba said.
“If we are going to increase production and productivity, we have to take a closer look at how our farmers are operating and effectively help them to improve their farming methods,” he added.
The minister went on to describe the sector transformation as ‘a complete revolution’ that would see the country’s small scale farmers becoming large scale producers by adapting intensive farming methods rather than extensive land use that has minimal effect on productivity.
“If we can achieve this then we will effectively improve our farmers’ This, he said, would improve farmers’ welfare and the nation’s food security and the national economy will also improve subsequently,” he said.
He named the four areas as increasing production and productivity, an eye being cast on how farmers run their farming and business.
The sector transformation is in line with Tanzanian President John Magufuli’s industrialization ambitions.
The minister acknowledged that the sector has been under-performing and as such it has been holding back the county’s agricultural productivity potential.
He maintained that the envisaged transformation will see to it that productivity is increased and efficiency improved.
The tabled budget is meant to fund enhancement of the agricultural sector and higher contribution to the national industrial economy agenda.
Media in the country quoted the minister saying; “Agriculture is the backbone of the economy, and is a key factor in the fight against poverty and unemployment; therefore, we want to transform the sector, in order to increase the chain of value for the produce, so that at the end of the day, they benefit farmers and contribute significantly to the industrial economy drive.”
Tanzania’s Agricultural Sector Development Programme 2 (ASDP2)
Tanzania‘s macroeconomic indicators showed robust growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) before and during implementation of the first phase of the Agricultural Sector Development Programme (ASDP-1) which started in 2006.
In recent years, GDP growth rate was between 6.0% and 8.1% between 2006 and 2014 at 2007 constant prices. These levels of GDP growth happened at a time when agriculture sector growth, except for 2008, was far below GDP growth.
On average, the service and industry sectors exhibited stronger growth rates than agriculture. The average growth rate for the agriculture sector during the period 2006 – 2014 was 3.9% per annum, and that of the service and industry sectors was respectively 8% and 7.8% for the same period.
From 2006 to 2012, the share of the agriculture sector in total GDP decreased from 27.7% to 23.2 %, while the shares of industry and service sectors increased from 20% to 22%, and from 46% to 49% respectively during this period.
Given the decline in the agriculture sector‘s share of GDP and its contribution to real GDP growth, it is apparent that the robust economic growth is not a shared prosperity.