INDUSTRIES are what create the platform and attracts capital, skills and knowledge. Industrialisation is next way towards prosperity.
Mr Isaya Tendega, a Trade Development Officer at the Regional Secretariat told the 'Daily News' in an interview that the region was finalising plans to implement the “New Kagera Industrial Strategic Plan 2017/18-2019/20” which aims to attract more investors in the area.
He was confident that without an efficient industrial base, a country’s economy cannot develop and cannot create job opportunities. Next month the region will convene a stakeholders’ forum which will involve the private and public sector.
The challenge is for the private and public sectors to recognise the legitimate needs of the other and for all to work towards the same end. The Forum will deliberate on various sectors which could attract investors. The region has adopted what it terms as “One District- One Product-One Industry” approach.
Each council had been tasked to identify one industry. The region has several industries including the Kagera Sugar Company (KSL), with annual production of 65,000 tonnes of sugar.
The aim is to increase production to 120,000 tonnes by 2020. KSL has heavily invested in machines and equipment, including the high-tech tractorpulled scraper machines and soil movers that communicate with global positioning systems (GPS) for precise land surface levelling in the sugarcane fields; enabling effective irrigation with greater potential for savings on water and other resources with higher crop yields.
Other industries include VIC Fish, TANICA (coffee), Karagwe Marketing Company (Coffee), Mayawa (Vanilla), Bunena Development Company, Kagera Tea Company and Delco Ltd (milk). Efforts by the Fifth Phase Government under President John Magufuli to fight corruption and spearhead accountability will definitely attract more investors.
Under the leadership of Dr Magufuli, the government has set out to diversify the economy and address the fundamental infrastructural issues hindering productive activities. Over the last 55 years Tanzania has made enviable progress in the political, social and economic spheres.
Over 30 million people in Lake Victoria Basin (LVB) could greatly improve their livelihoods if they utilize the abundant investment opportunities in the basin. Under the East African Co-operation Treaty, the Lake Victoria basin has been categorized as an economic growth zone. Available investment opportunities include agriculture and livestock, trade and commerce, fishing, mining, wildlife and tourism. Others are hydro-power generation, infrastructure development, human resources development, industries, research and technology.
Tourism industry has become the second largest foreign exchange earner in the country after minerals. Kagera region is endowed with abundant investment attractions. However, most of them have not been effectively tapped and developed due to lack of promotion and low investment in the sector.
Effort should also be made to revamp the Kibanda wheat project, in Karagwe district which once flourished under the defunct National Agricultural Food Company (NAFCO).
The project had since been completely abandoned. Kagera Region has a total of 29,798 hectares suitable for irrigation out of which 18,370 hectares were utilized, equivalent to 62 per cent. Misenyi district has a total of 20,463 hectares suitable for irrigation out of which 15,300 hectares were irrigated, equivalent 75 per cent. There are 1,330,048 ha of arable land but only 504,300 ha is under irrigation.
1,200,000 ha is suitable for livestock keeping while 500,000 ha is utilized. There are abundant irrigation water sources; available opportunities in education, health, water sectors to explore new technologies.
According to the 2012 Population and Housing Census, Kagera Region had 2,458,023 people, 1,205,683 males and 1,252,340 females. Out of the population, 2,231,033 were living in rural areas, with urban centres accommodating 226,990 people with an annual growth rate of 3.1 per cent.
The region enjoys a favourable weather pattern with average temperature at 26.02 degree Centigrade and annual rainfall ranging between 88-1,100 mm during months of September to January and March to May. The agricultural sector can play a crucial role in the rehabilitation process of the country’s economy.
Exploration of fertile areas and conducting research on what types of crops can be produced in such areas for optimum production is the only way of achieving self-sufficiency in food and earning substantial foreign exchange.
Pollution and environmental degradation has led to extinction of more than 400 fish species in Lake Victoria over the last four decades. Fish in Lake Victoria was also being plundered at an alarming rate calling for urgent steps to save the resources.
A recent study conducted by Accord Tanzania revealed that by 2048 there would be a big loss in fish resources in the lake. The study revealed that Nile Perch stocks went down from 750,000 tonnes during 2005 to 337,000 tonnes, in 2008.
Tilapia also dropped from 27,061 tonnes to 24,811 tonnes during the same period. The study also revealed that while there were over 400 fish species in Lake Victoria during 1920s, the number had dropped to almost zero with only three species available including Nile Perch (Sangara), Tilapia (Sato) and Sardines.
This is quite alarming. Joint effort must be taken to safeguard the resources. There is increasing fish pressure and environmental pollution in Lake Victoria. If it is not well-managed there will be over-fishing, depletion of resources and loss of socioeconomic benefits.