Mar 24, 2017 Last Updated 10:30 AM, Mar 24, 2017

Tanzania starts state-run agriculture bank

ABN – The Tanzanian government has invested Sh800 billion (US$380 million) in a new, state-run agriculture bank in an effort to ensure long-term economic stability.

The investment is targeted to boost growth in the agriculture sector, which has recently suffered due to low funds and low productivity.

President of Tanzania Jakaya Kikwete launched the Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank (TADB) with a speech emphasising the importance of agriculture to the country.

He said: “Around 75% of Tanzanians depend on agriculture for their livelihoods and the sector contributes to 25% of our gross domestic product (GDP) and accounts for 34% of the country’s export earnings.”

By giving farmers access to finance, it is hoped that the TADB will help modernise the agriculture industry and boost productivity.

The bank will focus on the production of maize, sugarcane, rice, oilseeds, meat, dairy and poultry, but will also target horticulture, fish farming and bee keeping.

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New act raises hopes for South African export trade

ABN – The African Growth and Opportunity Act, which will allow African exporters to export to the US duty free, has been approved.

The act is likely to stay in place until at least the 30 September 2025 and will see South Africa ease its US$0.80 per kilogram anti-dumping duty imposed on chicken exports.

An agreement was made between the US Poultry and Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) and the South African Poultry Association.

American chicken leg and thigh exporters will now have a duty exemption of 65,000 tonnes next year.

USAPEEC president Jim Sumner said: “We would continue to get a percentage increase after that.

“We would hope that it would grow conservatively to 80 million tonnes in a few years.”

Other exports are expected to benefit from the new act including South Africa’s pork industry.

National Pork Producers Council spokesperson Dave Warner said: “We were supportive of the renewal of AGAO, despite South Africa’s de-facto ban on US pork.”

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AfDB partners with ICCO to boost cocoa industry

ABN – The African Development Bank (AfDB) has announced plans to partner with the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO) to boost opportunities in the cocoa sector.

More than 70% of the world’s cocoa is sourced from Africa with the majority coming from Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Cameroon and Nigeria.

However, productivity losses are thought to stand at more than 70% due to the numerous challenges that the small farmers face.

The countries have not taken advantage of existing technological progress and innovations to tap into the large potential of the cocoa sector.

Aly Abou-Sabaa, AfDB Vice President of Agriculture, Water, Human Development, Governance and Natural Resources, said: “A transformation agenda is required, where cocoa farmers would embrace a business approach and where activities to add value to the raw material would thrive, and generate growth, employment and additional revenues for cocoa stakeholders on the African continent.”

Cocoa is one of the five crops (cocoa, coffee, cotton, cassava and cashew) that have been selected for support under AfDB’s new Agriculture and Agri-business Draft Strategy.

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