Press Releases 2012
Tanzanian Private Sector Leaders Attend U.S. Symposium
May 24, 2012
Promote Agricultural Sector Growth
Nine representatives from the Tanzanian private sector and from farmer organizations traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in the Chicago Council on Global Affair’s Symposium on Global Agriculture and Food Security on May 18, 2012. While in the U.S. Capitol, they also attended a reception hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. The representatives’ travel and participation in these events were sponsored by the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
On May 23, USAID officials Kevin McCown and Megan Johnson hosted a media roundtable with three participants: Janet Bitegeko, Executive Director of Agriculture Council of Tanzania; Isauka Mashauri, CEO Tanseed, and Dan Mrutu, CEO of Southern Agriculture Growth Corridor of Tanzania.
The Roundtable focused on the participants’ trip to Washington for the Symposium; the three participants fielded questions about the role of private sector investment in Tanzania and the impact on small holder farmers. All three participants reiterated the importance of partnerships with the small scale farmers; Mr. Mrutu specifically emphasized the need of bringing the market to the farmer, Ms. Bitegeko highlighted the goal of private sector investment which is to increase income in the pockets of farmers, and Mr. Masauri pointed to the positive benefits that result when private sector works to train and educate farmers on new technologies.
Taking place one day before the G8 Summit in Camp David, Maryland, the symposium elevated work on food security and nutrition at the G8 and highlighted the opportunities and benefits for private sector investment in agriculture. The attendance of these nine private sector leaders at the symposium signaled the commitment that is needed beyond government and donor assistance to promote agricultural sector growth in Tanzania. The local private sector investors each signed a letter of intent to invest in agriculture in Tanzania, and to work with small and large scale farmers. By doing so, they became part of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition; which also includes Government of Tanzania policy commitments and G8 funding commitments.
The organizations include Agrica/Kilombero Plantations Limited, Agro EcoEnergy, Shambani Graduates Enterprise Ltd, Tanseed, the Tanzanian Tea Packers Group, Selous Farming Limited, Agricultural Council of Tanzania, Tanzania Horticulture Association, and the Tanzania Seed Trade Association. Collectively, these private organizations represent activities in sustainable commercial agriculture, renewable energy, dairy, quality seed production and distribution to small farmers, and three private sector member based organizations that represent the interests of Tanzania’s seed, horticulture, and agricultural sector. Each company pledged a committed to invest and promote achievement of food security and nutrition in Tanzania, which a particular focus on small holder farmers. For example, Tanseed has committed to investing $11 million to purchase seeds and sell them in packets to meet the needs of small farmers. This is a prime example of the types of commitments these Tanzanian based companies have made to invest in Tanzania's agricultural sector.
The Symposium highlighted Jacqueline Mkindi, Executive Director of the Tanzania Horticulture Association, who said during her participation in a panel: “We need to appreciate the global agricultural transformation that comes with local expertise, having the right enabling environment in our countries, and making sure that investors who are already there are the positive reference point for new investments.” Throughout the day, various panels at the Symposium highlighted the importance of increasing trade for sustained economic growth, using new technology to meet the needs of farmers, the role of women in agriculture, including nutrition in food security, and strengthening African food security.
The commitments of these nine representatives will support the Tanzanian led programs Kilimo Kwanza, the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT), and the Tanzania Food and Security Investment Plan (TAFSIP). These efforts are supported by the Feed the Future Initiative, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative.