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Tanzania: Encouraging Small Holder Farmers to Participate in EntrepreneurshipFriday, June 12, 2015 > 08:59:10
ZANZIBAR has been promoting farming and entrepreneurship as a workable alternative to overcome unemployment burden, improve income and attain a reliable food security for the growing population.
Many people mainly youths and women have responded well to the government's call to engage in small scale farming, fishing, and entrepreneur. Authorities on the Islands have been happy to see the number of young people become entrepreneurs and farmers.
However, men and women in entrepreneurship, which includes handcraft products, seaweed farming and fishing, complain about lack of reliable market, capital, support from government while low prices, discourage them.
Ms Fatma Shaaban, a seaweed farmer in South Unguja says that they call for support in farming, and good has never been answered. "The workload is too big, yet payment remains small. However, we are tolerant because we do not have alternative source of income."
Mr Othman Khamis, a small farmer producing poultry products (eggs and chicken), and vegetables complains that he has no market as most of the tourists hotels import vegetables and chicken from abroad.
"We need market for our products, we need easy access to financial loans, and we need skills," said Mr Khamis adding that many farmers and entrepreneurs face several challenges in developing their work. He said they face a considerable tough competition with many similar products from abroad sometimes sold at low price compared to the locally made items.
But as farmers and entrepreneurs complain about little support from the government, lack of reliable market for locally produced goods, experts from the Zanzibar ministry of Trade, Industries, and Marketing argue that low quality and quantity should be blamed for lack of market.
Poor marketing and inefficient management are other challenges facing local producers as identified during the Diagnostic Trade Integrated Study (DTIS) to assess the Supply Stride Constraints (SSC).
According to the World Bank, a Diagnostic Trade Integration Study (DTIS) evaluates internal and external constraints on a country's integration into the world economy, and recommends areas where technical assistance and policy actions can help the country overcome these barriers.
The studies are conducted by teams who analyse specific sectors of the economy as well as cross-cutting institutional issues, such as market access, transportation and trade facilitation, standards, poverty, and core trade policy. Mr Salmin Sharif Khatib-Director of Planning and Policy in the Ministry of Trade, Industries, and Marketing has said that the study has revealed major supply constraints as lack of quality and quantity.
He said that in solving the problems in trade, the Zanzibar government has been mainstreaming its trade sector programme into the National Export Strategy (NES) that may help drive its socioeconomic development agenda which include poverty reduction. The UN system (UNDP) is helping the implementation of the project by partnering with the United Republic of Tanzania (Zanzibar/ Mainland) Governments to ensure that trade sector is developed.
Mr Khatib said his office has been working with the project analyst Mr Herman Hesham from UNDP to reach stakeholders including permanent secretaries and local leaders, namely executives in regional and district councils. He said the NES has been implemented gradually since 2009 to date, mainly emphasising on trade data collection before entering its implementation of phase later next year.
"We aim at identifying types of trade going in the islands, in respective district and region as we ask for priorities that can be supported to be included in the export," Mr Khatib said.
According to Hesham, trade mainstreaming also include Private Sector Development Strategy and that Public Private Partnership (PPP) in the three years period of the project focusing at value edition.
"We have identified areas to promote trade: quality and quantity, and construction of trade exhibition centre/ ground in the outskirts of Zanzibar town.
We have also identified seaweed and cloves are potential areas," said Mr Khatib. In a meeting with executives in district and regional administration, the experts asked them to further identify potential areas of trade in their respective districts including data collections.
The participants in the meeting said the discussion was important for the development of the Zanzibar, but asked the government to appoint trade officers or focal persons in each district to promote trade.
"This is a good idea and it should not just remain in books without implementation. We had good projects in the past but were never implemented," said Ms Kibibi Mwinyi Hassan, from South Unguja District.
She said Zanzibar continues to face significant challenges in trade due to wide disparities in regional and district poverty levels and lack of skills and capital, while good programmes are never implemented.