UNIDO agribusiness book will help Tanzania break food aid shackles, says minister
DAR ES SALAAM, 10 December 2012 –Speaking at the launch of a book published by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Tanzania’s Trade and Industry Minister, Abdallah Kigoda (MP), echoed the view of assembled agribusiness practitioners and experts that, without industrialization and value addition, Africa will not achieve prosperity.
Minister Kigoda said the continent will have to move away from food aid and subsistence farming, and that agribusiness is a foreign trade instrument that can attract investment to the continent. Tanzania should make a clear distinction between subsistence farming and agribusiness with value addition, he added.
The minister stressed that the book, “Agribusiness for Africa’s Prosperity”, contains a message that is a wake-up call for Tanzania to prioritize agribusiness and value addition in its industrial development and poverty reduction efforts. “Our challenge is to put more emphasis on transforming the agricultural make-up of our country,” said Kigoda.
Joyce Mapunjo, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said: “This book is not made to remain on the shelves. We need to domesticate its content.” She promised that the country’s experts, together with UNIDO, would ensure that the agribusiness book’s message is put into practice and look into how it will benefit agribusiness practitioners in the country.
“Agribusiness for Africa’s Prosperity” outlines the current status of agribusiness and agro-industrial activities in Africa, and positions them in historical and global context. It analyses the opportunities for diversified growth, and assesses the existing and potential sources of demand growth for agribusiness development in Africa. Seven development pillars are outlined and analyzed in detail, including enhancing productivity; upgrading value chains; exploiting international, regional and local demand; strengthening technology and innovation; promoting effective financing; stimulating private participation; and improving infrastructure and energy access.
Emmanuel Kalenzi, the UNIDO Representative to Tanzania, praised the Government of Tanzania’s strong cooperation with UNIDO in all its thematic areas and said he looked forward to future implementation of all the pillars identified in the publication.
In his address to participants at the event, Kalenzi said: “The launch of this book here was a deliberate choice. It is not just another launch. It is intended to enrich the discussions and strategy on the approach to agribusiness development, particularly as we appreciate the thrust the government of Tanzania has put on agriculture and its linkages to industry, through the Kilimo Kwanza strategy and feeding into the “Big Fives Now” strategy, that your government is pursuing to realize the country’s development vision of a semi-industrialized, middle-income economy by 2025.”
Patrick Kormawa, co-editor of the book and the UNIDO Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, outlined the importance of creating agribusiness cluster development zones within the country, as well as of commodity value addition and agribusiness for job creation.
Flora Rutabanzibwa, representative of the Bank of Tanzania (BOT), stressed the need for the BOT to increase financing of the agribusiness sector and the SMEs. “We need to arrange the appropriate financial infrastructure, especially in the rural areas,” she said.
In conclusion, USAID’s David Nyange underscored the importance of the book in educating agricultural practitioners, especially those working in Tanzania’s private sector.
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