Tanzania’s President Highlights Initiatives to Connect Farmers with International and Local Markets at Africa Food Systems 2023 Summit

DAR ES SALAAM, Sept. 7, 2023 – Speaking at the ongoing Africa Food Systems 2023 Summit in Dar es Salaam today, President Samia Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania outlined measures the government has taken to link farmers with both domestic and international markets.

Addressing the challenges farmers face in accessing markets, President Hassan noted, “It’s true that there are challenges in accessing markets, but research shows that there are multiple factors at play.” She emphasized the importance of a clear “connection” for farmers to the market, hinting at the various elements that come into play in this relationship.

Detailing the government’s efforts, President Hassan mentioned that while Tanzania has had some success in connecting farmers with markets, there’s still work to be done. “The key is the connection between the farmer and the market. We are still making efforts in this area,” she said. The President touched upon the issue of middlemen buying crops from farmers at low prices, but stressed on the need to directly connect farmers to the market, thereby improving the price they receive.

“The recent trend,” she noted, “has been the fluctuating prices of crops. A few years back, farmers faced losses due to poor market connections. For example, last year, the price of maize was 300 shillings per kilo, but this year it rose to 2,000 shillings per kilo.” President Hassan expressed hope that such progress could be replicated for other crops as well.

She went on to highlight the broader challenges and the government’s measures to address them. “The market is not just about the physical place to sell but also about transport, security, and infrastructure,” she said.

Detailing the government’s infrastructural initiatives, President Hassan emphasized, “We are building roads connecting regions and districts, but also major highways to facilitate market access. We have invested significantly this year in internal roads within districts to ensure crops can easily reach markets. Moreover, we are improving our ports – Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, Tanga – to better handle exports and imports.”

Additionally, she spoke about improving air transport to facilitate the export of perishable goods, especially in horticulture. “Our planes will ensure that produce, which otherwise perishes quickly, reaches international markets in a timely fashion,” she explained.

The President pointed to the establishment of the “Green Belt” at the Tanga port, which would cater specifically to perishable goods. “All these steps aim to maximize the value farmers get for their produce in the market,” she stated.