Tanzania: How to Make Investment in Agriculture Sustainable
SO, a thirst to see investment in agriculture skyrocketing is high now probably than any time before, nearly everyone wants to see some form of modernised practice in the field, high-end tech processing plants, a bigger chunk of cultivated land under irrigation, huge and unconstrained supply of improved seeds to the farmers, equally important an increased uptake and the likes.
Since we have tried and tried for years “with no significant” changes, all the above-mentioned improvements will only be brought by increased flowing of foreign investors who are ready and eager to see that the country transit from this level and make a sector of a benefit to many, or so many people belonging to a number of different ranks have this thinking.
It is a no brainer that our sector, much us is sufficient to meet national food requirements, its surplus is not that huge to meet global food demand – making us producing below potential – and too little to sustain the producers’ needs when stopped from farming due to calamities like floods and droughts.
The above situation begs, not an emergency intervention, but a malicious mind set redress in areas of investment. How are we going to get out of this trap? Now it is important that we attract foreign investment in the sector, and this should spread along the value chain, from farming to processing to trading.
Foreign investors usually come with huge capital, latest technology and knowledge of markets that will consume what he or she is going to produce. For instance who knows that in the whole country of Tanzania, despite being one of the leading producers and exporters of sesame in the world with loyal markets in China and Japan, there is no technology that de-hulls the sesame seeds?
In simple words, after harvesting sesame seeds from their plants there is nothing we can do beyond sorting, cleaning and oil extraction. That means much of what we gain from exporting in sesame it is not exactly what we were we able to sell the finest form of the commodity.
In such situations, foreign investors who have latest technology to process them, enough capital to procure and informed of the market that ready to buy them, are more than needed to bring some new oxygen in the value chain. And this experience cuts across multiple value chains in the sector.
If they make move to come, they must be handled so carefully knowing they add an immense value to the sector and an economy as whole which local settings could not provide. Well a question ensues, should we wholly depend on foreign players to turn things around?
The answer is No. Again, should we sit back in autopilot mode and wait to see things getself-regulated and settled in our best interest? Again the answer is No. What should we do then?
Much as we live in a global economy – a global setting that works under the pretence that nationalistic ambitions have been buried and gave way for equal and shared wealth – experience shows that nationalistic goals are stronger today probably than any time before.
Most of these Multi-National Companies (MNCs), despite of spreading their wings all over the world with sound business interventions, never lose taste of their local economies, they don’t suddenly become nationless entities or borderless companies for that matter.
Much of their capital remain in the coffers of their head offices which resides in their home countries, sensitive decisions are still made there, and above all strategies and high-end Research and Development activities are conducted in their countries.
Even when there happens some political or economic turmoil that bedevils their existence, like many other companies in the world that face crises of different nature, these MNCs have a tendency of making retrenchment or even shutting down their factories, and when they do so they do it last at their home countries.
That means the victim of any uncertainty is the country that extended their operations which reduces the sustainability of sector’s development. Don’t get me wrong, am not campaigning against foreign investors.
In fact I have a proven track record of championing for increased influx of foreign entities and utilized a number of domestic and international for a to implore them to make settlements in the country, and did all I could to make those who are already in the country operate in an environment that will keep them comfortable.
Because, their importance in the economy is just invaluable. But my emphasis is against doing nothing in a bid to have local players take reins of their economy while expecting some gravitational pull to bring local investors into life.
Space may not be enough to mention today’s well-known companies that are well known in the world today which are results of malicious interventions of public and private sectors in their countries which aimed at developing entrepreneurs in certain fields which eventually came to revolutionize the entire world we live in.
These leading “path-finders” who spanned from Government entities, Private Universities, Bourses and Banks, formulated clear vision and were able to define their environment so much so that their fields became a n envy of the world.
Their practical and well-organized interventions ensured those entrepreneurs of financial, political and social protection from a number of institutions they were work around with. We are not too late nor too tied to make as step. We can just begin now.