Tanzania Seeks $1.8 Billion in Support at COP28 for Agricultural Transformation

Tanzania High-Level Side Event COP28 Dubai: A March Towards Green Growth and Agricultural Transformation

By Anthony Muchoki

Tanzania is actively seeking support and co-financing for an ambitious seven-year, $1.8 billion project, as emerged at a high-level side event at COP28 in Dubai, focused on exploring agricultural opportunities for green growth and transformation within the country.

Hussein Bashe, the Minister for Agriculture, stated that the initiative, under the BBT program, is primarily focused on enhancing irrigation systems and providing substantial support to smallholder farmers. The goal is to significantly improve agricultural productivity and sustainability, directly benefiting a substantial portion of the Tanzanian population that relies on farming for their livelihood.

Bashe highlighted the continuity of efforts in Tanzania’s agricultural sector, referring to initiatives launched by President Hassan. These include the BBT program and the farmer borehole project, which are integral to the Environmental Protection Program. The borehole project, initiated in August, is part of a broader strategy to enhance irrigation facilities for farmers.

A government documentary shared at COP28 clearly indicated that “The government of the United Republic of Tanzania believes that addressing the poverty of farmers and safeguarding their dignity is crucial for the success of Environmental Protection efforts. As a result, it has rolled out a borehole program for Farmers, one borehole for every 16 Farmers. Let us help farmers produce three times a year to protect our environment.”

The event brought together significant partners like AGRA, the World Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), and the African Development Bank. The African Development Bank has already financed $100 million for the BBT program, while the World Bank contributed $300 million to the ongoing P4R project.

According to Hon Bashe, the Minister for Agriculture, this vast land of 945,000 square kilometers is significantly changing the narrative of food security, not just in Africa but globally. With a population exceeding 61 million, most of whom are engaged in agriculture, Tanzania recognizes farming as its economic backbone and a vital tool for food security. However, Tanzanian farmers, like their global counterparts, are increasingly impacted by climate change, leading to high deforestation rates as they clear trees to expand agricultural land and preserve livelihoods.

In response to these challenges, under the leadership of President Dr. Samia Suluhu Hassan, Tanzania is undertaking a robust approach to transform its agricultural sector. The country’s Visionary Agenda 10:30 aims for a 10% growth rate in agriculture by 2030, encompassing strategies like crop diversification and the adoption of cutting-edge technologies to enhance food security and economic prosperity.

Remarkable progress is evident in various initiatives. For instance, the government allocated about $145 million in the 2022-2023 fiscal year for nationwide irrigation projects. This funding led to the creation of 25 new schemes, adding 95,000 hectares of land under irrigation, and upgrading 30 existing projects. Additionally, the government is strategizing to build 100 reservoirs and 150 boreholes in every District Council for irrigation purposes.

A significant focus is on the Building a Better Tomorrow (BBT) program, promoting engagement of women and youth in agribusiness. This initiative aims to create over 8 million jobs by 2030 by increasing access to block farms and enhancing the participation of self-employed women and youth in agriculture.

Tanzania also focuses on seed multiplication, leveraging scientific innovation to develop climate-resilient seeds. The nation aspires to become a hub for seed multiplication in Africa, reflecting its resolve to adapt and thrive amidst climatic challenges. The country’s agricultural transformation is a story of growth, resilience, and ambition, driven by opportunities today for prosperity tomorrow.

Minister Bashe’s message is clear: Tanzania is a fertile ground for investment, where green technology, sustainable practices, and an innovative spirit converge, offering a climate-resilient future for agriculture

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