TANZANIA – Tanzania is set to invest US$5.65 billion (Tshs13 trillion) in implementing the second phase of the Agricultural Sector Development Programme (ASDP II) that seeks to boost the agricultural sector in the country.

Speaking at recent a meeting with stakeholders that sought to discuss better ways of improving the sector, Eric Ng’maryo said that the second phase of ASDP is geared towards increasing private sector investments.

Mr Ng’maryo, who is also chairman of the Board of Directors of Tanzania Horticultural Association (TAHA), insisted that the fate country’s agricultural sector depends greatly on agro based industries.

He said TAHA was optimistic in the contribution of the horticultural subsector towards the successful implementation of the project, reports Daily News.

“TAHA is the main partner and has already started taking its part in the implementation of ASDP II at a great pace and out of the nine main areas TAHA is implementing six of them in horticulture.

“In the last 10 years the horticultural subsector has been growing at an average of 12 per cent as opposed to general agriculture that has been growing at four per cent only,” he explained.

Mr Ng’maryo noted that the TAHA board expected that through ASDP II the nation would be able to expand local and international markets, including reaching out to newly created ones in Middle East and Far East, including China.

He called upon the government and stakeholders to address challenges facing the sector, as an enabling environment was needed for agribusinesses to thrive.

He also urged members of the public to increase investments in market infrastructure, irrigation as well as in storage of crops and transport, especially by air transport.

Also speaking during the meeting Arusha Regional Commissioner (RC), Mrisho Gambo, urged the private sector to make more efforts in identifying and utilising opportunities to realise the nation’s agriculture development goals.

The regional commissioner added that the horticulture sector has attracted major investment in Arusha Region, currently counting more than 10 horticultural companies processing vegetables and fruits for the local and export market.

“In our region we have witnessed productivity in agriculture, but specifically in horticulture whereby farmers in the subsector have been increasing between 200 and 300 annually and now we have more than 5,000 of them,” he noted.

TAHA Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Jacqueline Mkindi said; “TAHA has been in the frontline in molding this alliance between us and the government and ensure the horticultural sector grows.

When we started it we were exporting crops worth about US$64m, but today we talk of a sector that exports more than $700m crops and our aim is to reach US$2 billion.”