EDITORIAL: Financial institutions, force to reckon with in agri development

EDITORIAL: Financial institutions, force to reckon with in agri development

THE World Bank recently estimated that the value of food and agricultural markets in Africa may rise to US$1 trillion a year by 2030.

But, on current trends, expenditures on food imports in the continent will triple by this year, which pose the question: Will African farmers tap into this huge market or will the continent simply continue to be a net food-importing region?

To take advantage of the fast-growing regional agricultural markets, African countries must invest in modernizing their agricultural sectors, as pointed out by Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank in 2016, while recognizing that the involvement of central banks is crucial in this process.

Bringing this concept home, Tanzania which is blessed with vast fertile arable land and climate favoring cultivation of various crops, let alone peace the nationals are enjoying, must exploit the chance and focus much on food crops to address famine right in the neighbouring countries.

For instance, Tanzania Cereals and Other Produce Board (CPB) have opened grain centres in Juba (South Sudan) and Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where various food crops are sold to the people.

It is wise for Tanzanian farmers and traders to exploit the opportunity as further explained by CPB Director General, Dr Anselim Moshi in his address to the ‘Daily News’ recently, saying: “We have already delivered 800 tonnes of maize flour, wheat flour, rice and beans grains to the two centres …we also plan to open warehouses in Kenya, some parts of DRC and Sudan.”

This leaves our farmers with a room to cultivate a lot of food crops as earlier proposed at the 4th AFRACA (African Rural and Agricultural Credit Association) Central Banks Forum 2016, from 13-14 October 2016 in Ghana, where around 150 African central bankers and agricultural sector stakeholders gathered to agree on a radical new direction for banks to be involved in agricultural finance.

Further bringing the observation home, as earlier proposed by Hussein Bashe, when he was the Deputy Minister for Agriculture, it is the financial institutions as stakeholders to support the farmers, because the farmers themselves cannot make it.

Once they are fully supported by financial institutions including being offered training and education on how to use/spend loans in their activities, generally their economies would be boosted and raise equally the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Because hunger cannot wait, this is the time for our farmers to start preparing for the looming long rains so that our country has enough and surplus food to sell.


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Mwandishi: EDITOR

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