The Delegation of United Republic of Tanzania led by the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security and Cooperative, Hon Eng. C.K. Chiza attended the successful International Conference on Opportunities and Challenges in Africa agriculture and Food Sectors in Mumbai, State of Maharashtra from 29 to 30 August, 2012.

A wide range of Participants from India and Africa, who attended the Conference, made the most of the forum to share experience, discuss and to deliberate on agro business opportunities  which  exist  in  Africa  as   well as appropriate  approach  to address challenges of Agro and Food Sectors in the continent.

Introducing the Conference, the Secretary General of the Indo Africa Chamber of
Commerce  and  Industries  –  IACCI  Mrs.  Sunanda  Rajendra,  said  that  IACCI organised  that  interactive  gathering  with  a  view  to  successfully  boost  up  the commercial production of agro commodities, establishing food processing capacity, create diverse agro market access for Indian and Africa agro products, as well as sharing   experience   and   transfer  of  technologies   to   African   countries   where agriculture accounts for more than 25 per cent of the GDP  and employs more than
70 per cent of the workforce and possess more that 25 per cent [approximately 783 million hectares] of the World arable land.

She  said that, currently  the Government of India has extended a total of 105 Line of Credits [LoC] amounting to more that US$ 4 billion  to 47 African countries  to assist agriculture, infrastructure and related projects while about 80 Indian companies have collectively invested US$ 2.3 billion in agriculture projects in   five African countries namely Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Senegal and Mozambique. At this juncture, Mrs. Sunanda called for African and India Participants to efficiently exploit the conference to boost up Indo-Africa agricultural development and cooperation.

Meanwhile, in his welcoming remarks, the President of the IACCI Mr. K.L. Daga said agricultural performance in various African countries has improved a lot in the last two decades; nevertheless the sectoral growth has yet to meet the outstanding challenges. Hence, Mr. Daga appealed for extra Indo Africa combined efforts to be taken in order to properly address the agriculture impediments.

He mentioned some of the challenges as soil management, good quality seeds, shortage  of  organic  and  inorganic  fertilisers,  insecticides  and  pesticides,  use  of agrochemicals, integrated pest management  technique to deal with plant diseases, water  management,  agro-technology  roads,  irrigation  infrastructure,  warehousing
,cold storage, agro-inputs advanced technology and efficient management etc.

He added that African continent which is a major destination of various investment inflows, possesses a wonderful opportunity for Foreign Direct Investments [FDI] in large scale high yielding crops production to meet the food challenges.

Hence, the IACCI President encouraged the Indian Investors to transfer the required skills and technology to Africa in order to promote large scale agricultural investment in Africa for sustainable agricultural development.

The Conference was also blessed by the remarkable speeches by the African Dignitaries in particular the Tanzania Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, Hon. Eng. C K, Chiza, the Mozambique Minister of Agriculture Hon. Jose Condungua Pacheco, the South African Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Hon. Elizabeth Thabethe, the Benin Director of Agriculture [Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries] Mr. Sare Chabi Gani and the Commissioner of Rural Economy and Agriculture of African Union Commission Mrs. Tumusiime Rhoda Peace.

All remarks among other things commended the notable efforts taken by the IACCI to organize the first ever in India specific India-Africa Agriculture conference to promote and encourage the Indo- Africa bilateral agricultural cooperation and development as a whole. They further appealed for the persistence of such [India Africa Agriculture Conference] forum.

Enlightening the conference on   various steps taken by Tanzania to deal with the challenges and to promote opportunities in agro and food sectors, the Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, Hon. Eng. C K, Chiza stated that, the Government in 2008 proclaimed a green revolution programme, popularly known as “Kilimo Kwanza” [Agriculture First] deliberately to modernize and commercialize the  sector [ the backbone of the country economy] in order to extensively speed up the agricultural development and rural development transformation.

He said, since then, through Kilimo Kwanza initiatives, the Government of Tanzania has  been  persistently  inspiring  and  encouraging  local  as  well  as  international investors  counting India  corporate, to  grab the  abundant agricultural investments available in Tanzania in grounds of assisting the country’s efforts to comprehensively address the prevailing challenges.

Meanwhile the Commissioner of Rural Economy and Agriculture of African Union Commission Mrs. Tumusiime Rhoda Peace said that the African Continent could make a significant contribution towards world food safety if state-of-the-art technology is introduced to the cultivable land area available in Africa.

However, Mrs. Tumusiime who was also addressing the Agriculture Conference said that, unless high technology is implemented in the abundant agricultural land and other resources available in Africa, the problem of food safety in Africa would not be solved.

The Conference was brought to an end on the second day by business to business interactions whereby the Delegation of the United Republic of Tanzania as well held inspiring  and  successful  meetings  with  various  representatives  of  Indian  Private Sector and business.

Besides the Minister of Agriculture, Hon Eng. C.K. Chiza, the Delegation of the United Republic of Tanzania also included the Director of Irrigation and Technical Services Division Mr.  Raphael L. Daluti, Chief Executive Officer of National Food Reserve Agency [NFRA] Mr. Charles Walwa, an Official from the High Commission of the United Republic of Tanzania in  India Ms. Leluu O. Abdallah  and the Private Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Job David Mika.