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Director General  José Graziano da Silva

Tanzania: On the path to achieving food self-sufficiency

Transportation and infrastructure problems biggest obstacle to sharing maize and rice surplus with neighboring countries

FAO Director-General Minister for Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives.

7 October 2014, Rome - With 1.6 million tons of maize and 800 000 tons of rice surpluses, Tanzania has achieved self-sufficiency in these two commodities and now stands ready to share the food it produces with other African countries.

Following a meeting yesterday with FAO's Director-General, Christopher Chiza, the country's Minister for Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, attributed this success to “interventions done by the government to involve the private sector and farmers, to provide subsidies for input supplies, and open up and liberalize markets.”

Better infrastructure needed

“We are working out with the other governments on how to get this surplus to other countries. There are issues of governance; issues of transportation, taxes and other things, but these are things that we are trying to sort out”, Minister Chiza said

He highlighted transportation problems due to poor infrastructure as the main obstacle, especially for perishable goods. “Most things have to be transported by road, and roads cannot take heavy loads of consignments to other countries because this damages them. Like right now in Tanzania we are building 11,000 km of roads, but we need to be careful not to damage them by putting too much weight on them,” he reported.  

Importance of post-harvest lossess control

Discussions between FAO Director-General and the Minister also touched upon the importance of regional trade in Africa as well as the need to focus on post-harvest losses control.

Da Silva congratulated the Government for their “Big Result Now” initiative, Tanzania's new development agenda to which FAO is aligning its programme.