Tanzania and Namibia Search for Common Agricultural Initiatives

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By Francis Mukuzunga WINDHOEK Tanzania is looking for ways in which agriculture, especially livestock production can be boosted in that country using Namibia’s expertise, the visiting Minister of Livestock Development, Dr Shukuru Kawambwa, has said. Dr Kawambwa was addressing a press conference in Windhoek on Wednesday at the end of a four-day visit to assess and learn from Namibia’s livestock industry. He said although Tanzania had a larger stock count of 18,5 million cattle as opposed to Namibia’s 900ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000, the country’s industrial and value-addition production did not reflect the numbers. He said he was impressed by Namibia’s performance in this regard and that his delegation would take back knowledge acquired from the visit for further development and cooperation. “In Tanzania, we have a big number of livestock comprising of 18,5 million herd of cattle, 13,1 million goats and 3,6 million sheep. When compared to Namibia this is huge but when we look at the contribution of agriculture to Namibia’s GDP of 79 percent from only 900ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 head of cattle, what we produce is a far cry,” he said. He said one of the main reasons for his delegation here was to chart areas of collaboration. One of these areas was to enlist the services of Namibian veterinarians for the east African country’s livestock industry. In turn, Namibia also intends to send students to Tanzanian agricultural colleges such as the Morogoro Agricultural University, and others. “Tanzania also offers excellent investment opportunities for Namibian agro-processing businesses should they require expansion in our country,” he added, saying the two countries can benefit much more from value addition of livestock products and exporting them to other markets. “For example, in terms of milk production, Namibia produced 84ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 tons of milk last year as opposed to Tanzania’s 805ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 tons. We are expecting 1,4 million tons this year and, of that amount, hardly 5 percent is processed because we don’t have the capacity and knowledge to process this milk into other products,” explained Dr Kawambwa. During the visit, the Tanzanian delegation, accompanied by Namibia’s Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Dr Nickey Iyambo visited various livestock production areas, including farms, cattle breeders, abattoirs, tannery and by-product processing plants within the country. Apart from cattle and livestock, Tanzania was also interested in recruiting critical manpower to its country in the form of agricultural engineers and economists. In return, Tanzania said it would also want to see Namibia’s crop production and horticultural industry boom through irrigation and marketing. Namibia intends to put 26ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 hectares under irrigation in the coming season especially in the less dry and arable areas. Meanwhile, Acting Director for Livestock and Traceability in the Tanzanian Agriculture Ministry, Dr Mohammed Bahari, said he was proud of Namibia’s track record in dealing with the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). He said the fact that Namibia has been able to control any traces of the disease for over 40 years meant that other countries should learn from its practices. He acknowledged tha,t while his country was far from Namibia’s disease-free record, Tanzania had managed to eradicate the rinderpest disease from its livestock. He said, however, that it was his desire to have the two countries – and indeed the whole of SADC – cooperate in combating any incidents of disease. As an agricultural investment destination, Dr Kawambwa said Tanzania offers a five-year tax holiday for new investors and other bonuses related to manufacturing and exportation of agricultural products. The Tanzanian minister also reiterated that there were no trade barriers currently between his country and Namibia as both countries belong to the SADC grouping and other international bodies.