TANZANIA – The Private Agricultural Sector Support (PASS), an agribusiness financial investment organisation in Tanzania, has unveiled US$79.49 million (Tzs 184 billion) to supportlocal agricultural investors in the country in commercialising their operations.

The investments strengthens the firm’s financial support in the country’s agricultural sector  which according to a Daily News report, has since its establishment invested around US$308.04 million (Tzs 713 billion) in over 929,000 projects countrywide.      

According to Nicomed Bohay, managing director PASS, the organisation has in the past 18 years partner 15 financial institutions in to facilitate the empowerment agribusiness projects in the country.

“The last 18 years has seen us working to support the agricultural sector and this year alone we will dish out around 184 billion (US$79.49 million) for the cause and target to reach not less than 200,000 local investors in the sector,” said Mr Bohay.

Nicomed said that the financial support and capacity building initiatives have enabled creation of about 2 million employment opportunities through improved agricultural projects during the 18 year-course.

Additionally, he also unveiled plans of establishing the Lease Finance Company in line with its ambition of supporting among others merchandised agricultural projects in Tanzania.

“So plans are almost afoot for the establishment of the company worth over Tzs 1 billion (US$0.43 million) to start with while efforts will be made for more partners particularly banks to inject additional funds in the ambitious entity,” he said.

However, Mr Bohay said that there was a need to increase investments in tackling effects of climate change – which has continued to affect the agricultural sector hence implicating the economy.

In addition, the Tanzania National Microfinance Bank (NMB) has also committed US$215.99 million (Tzs 500 billion) to facilitate agriculture development in the country over the next 5 years.

This is part of the NMB five-year strategy aimed at revamping agricultural financing in Tanzania to aid farmers in adopting improved agricultural practices, increased productivity and increased household income while increasing the export volumes of agriculture products.

Despite the commitments, public and private sector agricultural financing in Tanzania is inadequate to propagate the required investment for medium and large-scale farming.

Agriculture is the mainstay of  Tanzania’s economy contributing about contributing US$13.9 billion, about 30% of its gross domestic product and 67% to total employment (during 2014.)