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Allocate more land for crop processing plants - call

3rd March 2012
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The government has been asked to issue directives to   all district councils to allocate enough land for construction of processing plants to add value to crops.

This was said in Dar es Salaam recently by Ahmad Mkopi, a local food processor when explaining on the opportunities of processing industries.

He said Tanzania has few processing plants which have contributed to retard the development of farmers and processors.

Available statistics show that Tanzania’s food processing industry processes only about 1 percent of the available raw materials.

This compares very poorly with 40-50 percent in Thailand, 78 percent in the Philippines, and 83 percent in Malaysia, which all fall under the category of developing countries.

It is estimated that over 90 percent of all products particularly fruits, is exported in raw form, through which trade Tanzania loses billions of shillings every year.

"Lack of processing plants has forced us to sell products in raw form hence earn meager income as compared to processed ones, this is not healthy for the growth of this industry," he noted.

Mkopi who is executive officer of Association of Mango Growers (Amagro) said agro-processing industry in Tanzania is still at an infancy stage and appropriate incentives must be put in place for forward linkages in agriculture.

For his part, Musa Mwakila said to address the shortcomings of post-harvest losses, the government needs to take several strategic steps.

They should entail the ban of export of some primary products and increase tariffs on the importation on competing products.

According to him, more stringent regulatory measures are needed to curb dumping of low processed agro-products so as to protect local processors against unfair competition.

He said the government needs to develop high quality packaging industries to cater for increased packaging of agro-processing products.

Tanzanian manufacturers, he said, fail to access foreign markets because of poor packaging technology which also hinders the development of the industry.

In a move to support the manufacturers, last July the government launched a packaging technology centre (PTC) under Tanzania Bureau of Standards. The centre is expected to commence its operations later on this year.

The centre was established by the government in collaboration with the Danish International Development Agency (Danida), Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (Unido).

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
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