*AGRA offers vital linkages
By Anthony Muchoki
Farmers and other players along the agriculture value chain are excited by the zeal shown by the government in pushing for an industrialized Tanzania.
“We need more agriculture-based manufacturing industries purchasing from smallholder farmers, and the existing ones should up their production capacity,” notes Mr. Anwary M. Said.
Mr. Said is the owner of Fantashiru Milling, based in Sumbawanga Municipality, since 2005. When he started off, he had 2 milling machines in a single building with the capacity of producing 375 kg of flour per day.
With time he has modernized the settings, has 6 milling machines on 3 different buildings within the same plant, with the capacity of producing 10MT of flour per day. He has loyal customers in Katavi, Mpanda, and Kigoma.
About 300 organized smallholder farmers from Mhiza, Kwasi and Kaengesa in Sumbawanga District, who have been beneficiaries of Kilimo TIJA programme, sell their maize to him.
“The good thing about organized farmers, they bring to us quality maize and we offer them a better price,” says Mr. Said. He has started building a second modern warehouse which will provide enough space for storing his produce. His current warehouse, AGRA at one time assisted him to concrete the floor and compound thus reducing offloading charges by 50 percent. Previously trucks would pack outside making him pay the double price in loading/offloading of produce. Through AGRA TIJA’s help in renovating his compound, he has been able to cut his cost by half, saving more than ten million TZS in a season. His company has been selling maize flour to business people coming from Congo and Zambia.
Another processor based in Sumbawanga is Mr. Asayile Paulo Msaku famously known as Mr. London. His company goes by the name London Agro Factory.
He says that maize farming, so long as processors like himself are able to produce quality flour and other byproducts, has a bright future. The market for maize flour in and out of Tanzania is huge and keeps on growing.
He purchases maize directly from about 1500 organized farmers. The Farmers Organisations he is dealing with are beneficiaries of Kilimo Tija Programme.
His journey in maize processing started in 2003. He bought only one milling machine with a capacity of processing 1 MT per day. It was in 2012, that he formalized the business by registering London Agro Factory Ltd. So far he has 3 processing machines with a capacity of 8 MT per day.
He supplies flour to businesspeople in DRC Congo, Mozambique and eyeing South Sudan. February 25th, 2019, the company signed a contract to supply 100,000 MT of maize flour to DR Congo. He says this is just the beginning, more is to come.
Ms. Rita Sekilovele notes the future is bright for organized farmers practicing modern agronomics. She owns and manages Super Seki Investment Co based in Iringa, a milling outfit that buys maize from farmers in Iringa Region, and processes the same for sale as flour (fortified) and related by-products. Thanks to linkages brought about by Kilimo Tija Programme she was able to acquire a loan of Tsh 500,000,000 from NMB Bank to expand the business. She is happy she is able to settle the monthly premiums and projects to fully repay the amount within 3 years. She sells her processed products to businesspeople in Mtwara, Ifakara, Mlandizi, Dodoma among other areas. She is able to sell about 30TN per week to each of the mentioned areas. She also supplies flour to a number of schools within Iringa.
For Nelson Isaac- he decided to take a road that is less traveled in Tanzania. While many business people like to deal with maize, he chose to become a rice processor. At first, he used to buy paddy during high season and sell in low season. He then bought two small paddy processing machines. Since then, there has been no turning back. The young entrepreneur, just 32 years old buys paddy and sells rice. His current processing capacity is 500MT. He purchases paddy directly from FOs working with Kilimo Tija programme such as Tujiinue SACCOS, Vuma AMCOs, Tushikamane AMCOS, Muze Amcos, Nzovwe Amcos, Mbulu Saccos, Sakalilo Amcos, Sakalilo Umwagiliaji, Azimio Amcos, and Nyombe Amcos.
In total, Nelson provides a market for 1300 farmers from different FOs. For the coming harvest, the company has a contract to buy 200MT of paddy with Sakalilo Amcos. He sells his rice to business people at Tunduma International market, Zambia and Kasumbaresa (D.R.C )
The named processors, each in his or her way are among the business people who see industrialization in the face of agriculture development.
According to Mr. Vianey Rweyendela, AGRA Country Manager, the fastest road to industrialization in Tanzania with an economic impact on the majority populace, is through agro-processing and related ventures.
Thus AGRA’s support to kilimo in Tanzania is complementing government’s efforts in the drive to make the nation reach middle-income economy by 2025 based on industrialization.
There are notable processing firms which have been working closely with AGRA supported Kilimo Tija programme across Tanzania.
“You cannot talk of agribusiness and leave out manufacturing in Tanzania’s setting,” Mr. Vianey.
Dr. Donald Mmari, REPOA Executive Director is emphatic that “Tanzanian economy is agrarian.” He says that by improving agriculture production and raising productivity, it will automatically attract different forward and backward linkages. One of the most important linkages is agro-based manufacturing.