Dar es Salaam – In a momentous event at the State House, President Samia Suluhu Hassan of the United Republic of Tanzania unveiled the framework and vision for the newly-formed Presidential Food and Agriculture Delivery Council, signaling a shift towards a food-secure future for Africa.
“From January 25th-27th this year, I attended a conference of African heads of state on food sufficiency and resilience held in Dakar, Senegal,” began President Hassan. She further illustrated the profound commitment from African leaders, stating, “We resolved, among other things, to set up councils to promote agriculture and boost food production.”
The newly appointed council in Tanzania boasts an impressive list of members, including Honorable Mizengo Kayanza Peter Pinda, former Prime Minister and the council’s chair, Honorable Hailemariam Desalegn, Geoffrey Kirenga, CEO of SACGOT, and Andrew Masawe, former permanent secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture. “This council will also have a secretariat,” Hassan added, highlighting the roles of Dr. Florence Turuka, Dr. Jacqueline Mkindi, and Dr. Mwatima Juma as core members.
On horticulture’s potential, President Hassan shared, “We know that currently, the fastest money-making crops are in horticulture. So, we want you to introduce the youth to horticulture, which is a quick win for the sector to earn money quickly.” This direction underscores the dual objective of boosting agriculture while fostering youth employment and entrepreneurship.
With an eye towards future funding avenues, she commented, “Dr. Mwatima is there. She was with IFAD until she retired. She knows how to navigate through IFAD and get funds to improve agriculture in Tanzania.” Such strategic positioning will inevitably open doors for the Tanzanian agricultural sector to tap into international funding and expertise.
President Hassan further detailed the council’s duties, emphasizing its role in elevating the agricultural sector, fostering local innovation, strengthening the financial sector, and advising on private and government investments. Her vision extended beyond the borders of Tanzania: “Yesterday, I was in South Africa, and in our trade discussions between Tanzania and South Africa, we noticed that South Africa imports a large amount of rice from Vietnam. We told the Tanzanians that we have 22 million hectares that can be planted with rice using irrigation.”
“This is where we want to go,” she proclaimed, outlining her ambition for Tanzania to become a major food supplier, feeding not only its citizens but also exporting to neighbors and beyond.
Highlighting the gravity of the council’s responsibility, President Hassan remarked, “If we succeed, it’s because of you. If you let us down, it’s because of you, but I don’t think the true champions of Tanzania will let us down.”
As the President concluded, she unveiled an invitation to the international community, announcing the upcoming Africa Food System Forum 2023 scheduled from 5th to 8th September at the Julius Nyerere International Conference Centre in Dar es Salaam.
President Hassan’s announcement and the establishment of the Presidential Food and Agriculture Delivery Council mark a defining moment in Tanzania’s commitment to revolutionizing its agriculture sector. This initiative is a testament to the country’s drive to play a significant role in ensuring food security, not just for Tanzanians but for Africa as a whole.