STATEMENT BY HON. CHARLESN. KEENJA (MP), TANZANIA MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SECURITY AT THE TWENTYFIFTH SESSION OF THE GOVERNING COUNCIL OF IFAD,

19TH- 20TH FEBRUARY, 2002

 

 

Mr. Chairman,

IFAD President,

Distinguished Governors,

Honourable Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen.

 

 

1.†††††††† Mr. Chairman, I feel greatly honoured to participate and address this Twenty Fourth Session of the Governing Council.Firstly, I wish, on behalf of the United Republic of Tanzania and on my own behalf to congratulate you for being elected President of IFAD. I have every confidence that, under your able direction, IFAD will continue to play a unique and noble role of tackling rural poverty.Secondly, may I thank the dedicated management of IFAD for managing this Institution professionally until this time. May I also commend all member countries for having made valuable contributions in terms of financing and many other ways and turned IFAD into a successful Organisation.

2.†††††††† Mr. Chairman, this session is taking place at a time when the World is faced with immense challenges.This is also the time, when most of the people in developing countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, still live in abject poverty, afflicted by; hunger, malnutrition, diseases and environmental degradation.However, I am encouraged to note that, most of these countries, more than any time before, have renewed their commitment and determination to secure a future of global peace and development.It is out of this positive development that, a meeting like this, raises expectations in anticipation that dreams and aspirations of most people in these countries will be fulfilled.Thus, I wonít be mistaken to say that, this session marks the beginning of a new era where all countries, including those in the developed World, will work in partnership to fight Poverty.I am glad to note that, IFAD is showing the way.

 

3.†††††††† Mr. Chairman, as far as Tanzania is concerned, I am pleased to note that IFADís operations in my Country, have had a positive impact on alleviating poverty and rural development.Unfortunately time does not allow me to address in any depth, how IFAD Projects have contributed to the lives of poor households in my Country.Currently, IFAD is implementing several Projects and programmes which include;

 

 

 

-                     Agricultural and Environmental management Project.

 

-                     Mara region FarmersĒ initiative Project.

 

-                     Rural Financial Services Programme.

 

-                     Participatory Irrigation Development Programme, and

 

-                     Agricultural Marketing Systems Development Programme.

 

I would like to acknowledge that, these projects and programmes are opening up new opportunities which would have been impossible to realise had there been not IFAD Projects. These projects have been formulated in a manner that addresses the farmerís basic needs and implemented in a participatory way. In a special way, IFAD projects have empowered rural communities to better manage their resource base, improve their food security status and incomes and enhance access of the poorest to basic services. I thank you for your vision and commitment to developing rural areas.

 

4.†††††††† Mr. Chairman, the agricultural sector in Tanzania is the leading sector of the economy, accounting for over 50% of the GDP.The sector contributes about 60% of exchange earnings and provides raw materials for the manufacturing sector.Over 80% of the population live and earn their living in rural areas with agriculture as the mainstay of their living.This information, serves to show the weight of the agricultural sector in the rural economy and its link to poverty alleviation initiatives.

 

5.†††††††† Mr. Chairman, for over a decade, the agricultural sector has maintained a steady growth rate of over 3% per annum.Although, this is greater than the growth rate of the population, which is stands at 2.8%, this rate is considered unsatisfactory as it has failed to improve the livelihood of the rural people whose major occupation is agriculture.

 

6.†††††††† Mr. Chairman, performance of the agricultural sector is constrained by a number of factors including; low productivity due to inappropriate technology, inadequate research and extension services, dependence on rainfall, low utilisation of improved technologies, poor infrastructure especially roads, and weak network of inputs and out put markets.These problems are further compounded by lack financial services in rural areas, low and declining prices of most export commodities, limited processing capacity and technologies and HIV/AIDS pandemic which threatens to wipe out gains achieved over the years.

 

 

 

7.†††††††† Mr. Chairman, these problems constitutes an agenda for new initiatives to stimulate growth and development of the agricultural sector.In order to resolve problems and transform this sector, the Government of Tanzania in collaboration with stakeholders in the agricultural sector have formulated the Agricultural Development Strategy.The primary objective of the Strategy is to create a conducive environment for improving agricultural productivity, raise farm incomes, attract private investments and reduce rural poverty.The Strategy identifies broad actions to be taken by various stakeholders in developing the agricultural sector.

 

8.†††††††† Mr. Chairman, the agricultural Sector Development Strategy is a major component of the recently prepared Rural Development Strategy and the Poverty Reduction Strategy.The Strategy identifies critical areas which will provide a foundation for commercialisation of Tanzania agriculture, accelerate agricultural growth and pull the majority of the rural poor out of abject poverty.

 

These priorities include;

 

(i)                              Strengthening the institutional framework for agricultural development.

 

(ii)                            Creating a favourable policy and legal environment for commercial agriculture.

 

(iii)                           Improving support services by both public and private sectors.

 

(iv)                          Strengthening market efficiency for agricultural inputs and outputs.

 

(v)                            Creating a conducive administrative and legal environment for the sector by reviewing and harmonising legislation and streamlining various procedures to improve efficiency and transparency in the provision of services.

 

9.†††††††† Mr. Chairman, in order to operationalise the ASDS, the Government of Tanzania in collaboration with stakeholders is preparing the Agricultural Sector Development Programme (ASDP).The programme is expected to provide details on implementation modalities of ASDS, cost for various activities and provide the institutional framework for managing the programme in a coordinated way.

 

10.†††††† Mr. Chairman, I know time is not in my favour, however, I would like to bring to your attention the fact that, transformation of rural areas, into prosperous sites, requires concerted efforts by both developing and developed countries as well as International Organisations.This is a process which calls for patience, determination, strategies, programmes, resources and above all a focused vision and commitment, to bring about broad based, people centred development.

 

11.†††††† Mr. Chairman, I have learned that, IFAD is considering to hold a Regional Workshop on Strategic Framework for Poverty alleviation for Eastern and Southern African region in Tanzania in May, 2002.May I take this opportunity on behalf of the Tanzania Government to thank you for choosing Tanzania to host this important workshop.We take this, as a challenge and encouragement to Tanzania, and indeed, to all Tanzanians in their fight against poverty.

 

12.†††††† Mr. Chairman, once again, may I thank you for availing me this opportunity to address this session.May I as well thank all distinguished participants for listening to me.

 

 

 

Thank you.