- Published on Wednesday, 18 July 2012 01:15
- Written by DAILY NEWS Reporter in Arusha
- Hits: 594
THE Arusha Chapter of the Tanzania Chamber of Commerce Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA) is determined to ensure that the implementation of the East African Common Market Protocol is beneficial to the agricultural sector in the region to the desired level.
According to Mr Adolf Olomi, the Chairperson of TCCIA Arusha and a prominent businessman in the city, the sector is still a sleeping giant that needs to take advantage of the implementation of the East African Common Market Protocol to create myriad opportunities for youths.
The latest statistics on Tanzania's exports to other partner states in the EAC have increased from $96.4 million in 2005 to $450 million in 2010.
However, he said, that the numbers were still too small, when compared to the nation's potential. According to Mr Olomi, the agricultural sector in Arusha Region has been in the doldrums for years and despite some gains in horticulture and other cash crop related ventures, there is more that can be achieved.
TCCIA-Arusha has commissioned the ongoing research into the challenges and opportunities in the implementation of the East African Common Market Protocol and Tanzania's role in creating an attractive environment for increased private sector activity within and across the borders.
One of the components that the research has is examining is agriculture. The researcher undertaking the study on agriculture has stated categorically that Arusha Region and Tanzania more broadly, could benefit substantially from the implementation of the two year-old EAC common market protocol.
The Agribusiness researcher, Mr Geoffrey Kalugendo, of Africa Source Investment Trade & Environment Management, said that preliminary investigations indicate that a re-organisation at sectoral level is a basic necessity for the agri-sector to realize the greatest benefits.
"Arusha is growing a range of high quality produce that has great demand in the EAC, especially Kenya. This includes oranges, onions, beans, maize and several other crops. But because of the failure to organize the industry at the sector-level, we end up getting only the minimum benefit from the exportation of the crops," he said.
"For the agri-sector to benefit from the implementation of the common market, producers and traders should stop operating individually and get organised into groups and cooperative entities," he said.
He said that getting the farmers organised should be a priority and that it is crucial for the Arusha Region and the country at large to benefit from the implementation of the EAC common market protocol.
He said that a good number of Kenyan traders had reached a point where they don't buy produce from the Arusha region as individuals, but instead as organized entities.
"One person will come to buy representing an entity or a group. They will buy at the source at low prices. Then, on reaching Nairobi, they use international standard packaging for selling the produce in Kenya. They then re-export the rest," he said.