AGRICULTURE

by Paul Gooday

New Agricultural Development Bank
The Tanzania Investment Bank (TIB) is restructuring, in a change that will see its agricultural lending function transferred to the newly formed Agricultural Development Bank, while its remaining operations will be run by two distinct subsidiaries.

The Finance Minister told Parliament in July that the setting up of TIB Corporate, one of the bank’s new subsidiaries, is in its final stages, and that the lending function of TIB would now be the responsibility of the Agricultural Development Bank. This restructuring has been going on since last November, and is aimed at making the government-owned facility more efficient.

The establishment of the new bank is intended to provide short, medium and long term credit to the agricultural sector, which includes lending facilities to fisheries and livestock projects. The corporate structures of the bank have been put in place and government has already disbursed Tsh90 billion ($55.4 million) to enable the bank to start operating.

Development banks in the East African region, particularly government-owned ones, provide credit for specific functions or to under-served sectors as well as to consumers not served by mainstream lenders. (The East African)

Tanzania and Clinton Foundation sign agriculture pact
The government and the Bill Clinton Foundation have signed an agree­ment under which the organisation led by the former US president will support farmers and the agriculture sector in the country. The initiative will improve access to better seeds and fertilizers by small-scale farmers.

The foundation intends to work closely with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives to ensure that Tanzanian farmers are able to feed the nation and furthermore export their produce to the rest of the world. The memorandum of understanding was signed by rep­resentatives on behalf of government and the foundation with the event being witnessed by Mr Clinton and President Jakaya Kikwete.

Speaking after the ceremony, President Kikwete said the support was targeted appropriately as 75 to 85 percent of Tanzanians live in rural areas and depend on agriculture. Most of this is subsistence and still depends heavily on the use of the hand hoe. “The focus should now be on transforming our agriculture by reducing the use of the hand hoe and dropping dependence on God’s rain,” he said. “With this pro­gramme we shall increase the use of fertilizers and pesticides.”

Mr Clinton revealed that he came from a farming background and said he will dedicate his remaining life to improving the lives of farmers in Tanzania and elsewhere in the world. “We will also establish big farms that can produce better seeds and increase yields,” he said, adding “but we should do everything in our power to make sure that this pro­gramme is sustainable.” Earlier in the day, Mr Clinton visited a village savings and loans assistance society at Vingunguti (Ilala Distict), which is also supported by his foundation. (The Citizen)

Approval for Tobacco Farming in Serengeti
Serengeti farmers have earned billions of Tsh after selling 2,520 tonnes of tobacco, making the villagers of Kebanchabancha and Nyamakendo the leading tobacco producer in Mara region. Production will increase significantly as hundreds of farmers in the region have started cultivating tobaccos.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives has allowed farmers in three districts to pursue large scale production of the crop. Tobacco farming has been carried out on a trial basis for about three years, and farmers have now been approved by the ministry.

While Tanzania acknowledges that tobacco is one of the most profitable crops, the country is also pursuing sustainable and responsible farming practices in the Serengeti District that consists of 70% game protected areas and the Serengeti National Park. (Tanzania Invest)

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