Tanzanian archipelago off the coast of East Africa, Zanzibar could be numbering its days to cease rice importation. The nation rolled out the 2018/19 season of rice growing under the agriculture revolution that aims at improving the sector’s performance and productivity for a better economy.
Zanzibar imports 80 percent of its rice which costs the government significant revenues. Maize, cooking oil, wheat, and flour are other agricultural products the semi-autonomous region of Tanzania imports. It mainly produces cassava, sweet potatoes, corn, coconuts, and cacao.
Poor crop harvests, low food stock, and floods are among the causes of food insecurity in the country, compelling the government to seek strategies to deal with the food crisis. Prolonged drought and famine have weakened the sector’s performance increasing government’s expenditure to feed its citizens.
The Zanzibar Agricultural Transformation initiative seeks to address such challenges in a sector that feeds over one million Zanzibaris, and a offers a direct source of employment to 42 percent of the economy, contributing to more than a quarter of the national GDP.
The main components addressed in the draft include increasing the public sector investment, commercializing the agricultural production, increasing agro-processing and value addition that is that is affected by poor handling and poor storage facilities, enhancing marketing linkages and trade.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture Dr. Makame Ali Ussi implored the stakeholders taking part in the transformative agenda to play their part to meet the government’s objectives.”
Zanzibar’s economy is exclusively agricultural despite being widely known for its wealth in the tourism sector. The sector accounts almost 72,000 jobs in the country. Foreign investors are slowly venturing into its market with various business ideas to develop its economy.
Tanzania harvests a lump sum of revenue from the tourism sector in Zanzibar, which has also been touted as the fastest growing economy in the country.