BOOSTING AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTIVITY
Tanzania – an exotic name that rolls off the tongue like a well-intended metaphor. Certainly a country that has attracted international attention in terms of its economic growth and making its mark among the top 5 fastest growing economies in Africa.
ith a population of 49 million and the ninth largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa, it has maintained a steady growth rate of around 7 % for the last couple of years. Among the advantages is the efficient air transport system, political stability, a free market economy, and it is strategically located in terms of Dar es Salaam being the gateway port that services 8 land-locked countries, plus it has an abundance of natural resources, coupled with 44 million hectares of arable fertile land – an allin-one package for investors.
Although Tanzania’s economy has been steadily growing in the last decade, agriculture dominates the landscape in terms of employing approximately 80% of the local population, and Tanzania is slowly making progress towards diversifying its reliance from agriculture to other industries.
The economic growth has been improved by progress within the construction, communication, power generation, manufacturing , health and administration sectors.
In 2013, its economy expanded and overtook that of Kenya and Uganda, a positive sign, which helps in keeping Tanzania one of the preferred destinations for foreign investments in Africa and certainly top spot in East Africa. Some of the key issues that are attracting investors are the Tanzanian government’s commitment to sound macro-economic policies, an effective privatization programme and rich mineral resources.
Large infrastructure projects also attracted foreign investments with port facilities, oil and energy production and gas liquification projects taking the front positions. Tanzania’s major investors come from the United Kingdom, China, South Africa, the European Union and Canada.
Although Tanzania shows amazing progress in terms of its growth, one cannot lose sight of the fact that it remains emerging market terrain with certain challenges such as unreliable power, an underdeveloped transport system, bureaucracy, a lack of technological resources and complex land laws.
Despite the positive economic growth rate, Tanzania has not adequately addressed poverty reduction by not succeeding to raise its productivity in agriculture over the last 20 years. With a predominantly agricultural sector dominating the labour force with a 4% growth rate, three quarters of the population still live in rural areas and eighty percent of its citizens live in rural households.
The Tanzanian government has not been sitting idle though, together with donors they both have used resources to improve some social sectors, but simply do not have enough resources to also address the agriculture sector. The lack of secure land tenure to guarantee that farmers in the rural districts do not lose their land is one of the most sensitive issues and has led to restraint from investors that could have otherwise enhanced productivity. The food processing and other related agricul-