Addressing delegates to the USAID Forum on “Frontiers in Development: under the theme Ending Extreme Poverty”, in Washington DC recently, President Jakaya Kikwete outlined factors undermining efforts to fight poverty.
Political instability was among factors that acted against economic growth and the subsequent eradication of poverty.
The encouraging projections by the World Bank that extreme poverty as measured by spending less than 1.25 US dollars a day can be reduced to no more than 3 per cent by 2030 by fostering income growth come as an inspiration for each country to double efforts.
Another important aspect mentioned by the president was the need for improvement of all sectors that lead to economic prosperity as every sector depends on one another for tangible growth. For example, agricultural growth is almost always impossible where there will not be infrastructure development. In this regard, Tanzania made headway between 2004 and 2013 whereby different sectors recorded growth.
These include services, driven by telecommunication and financial services, trade and industry which comprises of construction, manufacturing and mining.
However, the agriculture sector which supports about 75 per cent of the population in terms of employment and livelihood, grew at an average of only 4.2 per cent in the last decade. The low growth in agriculture is attributed as the reason why the pace of poverty reduction has not been fast enough as expected.
Some corrective measures had been initiated. This includes establishment of the Agriculture Sector Development Programme (ASDP), Kilimo Kwanza and SAGCOT.
As a result, noticeable progress is being registered and the future of Tanzania’s agriculture looks promising. Still more needs to be done. Smallholder farmers have to be enlightened more on the need to adopt modern farming methods and to do away with subsistence farming.
Extension officers should be made to understand that they have a Herculean task with regards to improving the agricultural sector in the country if at all we want to eradicate poverty as envisaged by the