Tanzania allocates 60,000 Hectares of Land for Rice and Sugar Agribusiness

The Tanzanian government has allocated 60,000 hectares of land for investment in large-scale commercial farming for sugar and rice. Through the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) initiative, commercial developers will also stand to gain from complimentary investments by the government, donors and other private investors in infrastructure, input-supplies, out-grower training and finance

SAGCOT is an inclusive, multi-stakeholder partnership to rapidly develop the region’s agricultural potential. It was initiated at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Africa summit 2010 with the support of founding partners including farmers, agri-business, the Tanzanian government and companies from across the private sector.

SAGCOT’s objective is to foster inclusive, commercially successful agribusinesses that will benefit the region’s small-scale farmers, and in so doing, improve food security, reduce rural poverty and ensure environmental sustainability.

Both local and foreign investors are invited to apply for allocations.

The former Minister for Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, Christopher Chiza, said the project was not expected to replace local residents in the area.

“No single piece of land from farmers will be grabbed to fulfill investment purposes,” Chiza assured the peasants recently.

The land is located in Mkulazi area, 60 kilometres from the Dar es Salaam – Morogoro highway. The site is situated alongside the Tazara railway line linking Dar es Salaam with the Zambian border, approximately 100 kms from Dar es Salaam.

Mkulazi is well positioned to serve the growing local, regional and global demand-supply gap in both the sugar and rice markets.

This project is a public-private partnership well placed to achieve the objectives of Kilimo Kwanza from the coastal plains and the valleys of Kilombero and Ruaha to the hills and valleys of the Southern Highlands and the Usangu flats.

The farm is subdivided and subtitled as follows; 40,000 hectares for sugar farming divided in two farms of 20,000 hectares each. The remaining 20,000 hectares would be for rice farming—four rice farms of 5,000 hectares each.

The government had earlier assured peasant farmers living around the 60,000-hectare Mkulazi Farm that the proposed commercial agriculture investment project would not grab their land.  Instead, the government would take precautions to ensure that any land ownership contracts will benefit Tanzanians living in the project area and the country at large.

Source – EAST AFRICAN BUSIWEEK

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