On December 30, 2020, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) approved $77.42 million for the Agriculture and Fisheries Development Program (AFDP) to be implemented by the country from 2020 to 2027.
The Deputy Minister of Livestock and Fisheries, Abdallah Ulega, presents the current status of projects cofinanced by IFAD (58.85 million dollars); government ($7.73 million); private sector ($8.43 million) and beneficiaries ($2.42 million) as well as other ongoing projects during a recent interview with The Citizen Reporter.
QUESTION: What is the status of the AFDP which aims to revolutionize the agricultural and fishing sectors in the country?
ANSWER: The project is still there, despite the failure of the previous exercise for technical reasons.
However, I cannot provide details on technical reasons due to lack of expertise on issues such as taxation, contracts, etc.
However, the project is still there. What was allocated in the 2021/22 financial year has been transferred to the 2022/23 financial year.
Our expectation is that the project will be executed.
However, this is a transversal project (involving more than one ministry: Agriculture and Fisheries).
Usually, these projects are coordinated by a higher office such as the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
Thus, currently, discussions are underway involving experts from the beneficiary ministries; (Ministries of Agriculture and Fisheries); the PMO, the Ministry of Finance and Planning and IFAD.
Experts work to provide solutions to said technical problems; we believe the project is still there and will be successfully implemented as planned.
In tabling the budget for the financial year 2022/23, the Minister of Livestock and Fisheries, Mashauri Ndaki, said that in the financial year 2021/2022, the government has committed to acquiring two vessels fishing tackle and accessories through AFDP under IFAD financing for the Tanzania Fishing Corporation (Tafico).
“In the implementation of the program, there have been various challenges, in particular delays in the release of funds. In addition, the loan condition which obligates the government to use its own funds to carry out the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the United Republic of Tanzania (URT) and the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar (RGZ) , including deep sea fishing and the purchase of vessels,” he said.
Mr. Ndaki said discussions regarding the conditions began between early 2021 and early 2022, when resolution was reached, allowing the ESIA to be conducted through AFDP funds.
“Therefore, currently, the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries (URT) and the Ministry of Blue Economy and Fisheries (RGZ) have completed the formulation of terms of reference for international ESIA consultants, calls for Bids have been announced and bidders are being reviewed,” he said.
The URT and the RGZ have completed giving their opinion on the fishing vessels to be acquired and have been submitted to the programme’s donors.
In addition, ESIA for other projects requires the use of local experts.
What is your message to the beneficiaries who are curiously waiting for the launch of the project to launch the fight against poverty?
The sixth government is well prepared to serve Tanzanians in the fisheries sector. In addition to the AFDP project, there is a project implemented by the ministry through the Covid-19 relief fund of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries received a share of 100 billion shillings from President Samia Suluhu Hassan for the two departments; Breeding and fishing.
In distribution, the livestock department received 40 billion shillings, while the fisheries sector received 60 billion shillings.
Different fishing activities will be carried out using the 60 billion shillings, including providing fishermen with modern fishing equipment.
We have been talking about it for a long time, but the stage of implementation has come, where fishermen will receive modern fishing equipment on loan.
This is going to be a huge revolution in the economy of the country, especially in the blue economy.
More than 250 boats will be provided to fishermen to enable them to start fishing away from normal waters to slightly deep seas, a measure that will improve efficiency increase in the fishing industry.
Fishing boats will be provided to beneficiaries in different contexts such as groups of cooperative societies; community organizations (CBOs); and individuals.
You know, one individual owning a boat could benefit up to 20 fishers, therefore thousands of Tanzanians will benefit from the value chain including owners, fishers, processors and traders.
When should we expect the boats?
The strategy is being finalized by experts. Hopefully the process will be completed by the end of this month.
Therefore, the public will be informed of the start of the process, by which the required qualifications will be revealed for the recruitment of candidates.
Aspirants will then go through a process. Before successful applicants are given the opportunity, steps will be taken.
Earlier you alluded to another empowerment project, what is it?
100 billion shillings from the Covid-19 relief fund has been provided in addition to the 198 billion shillings that have been allocated by the ministry in its budget for empowerment projects in the livestock and fisheries sectors.
These funds will be mobilized from different sources in order to finance fisher empowerment projects through various projects such as shellfish farming projects.
We have executed the Shellfish One project and the department is now moving to the Shellfish Two project.
Although the project is in its preliminary phase, the realization of its execution will revolutionize the sector, especially during times when the country is prioritizing the blue economy in both mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar.
Once all these projects come to fruition in this fiscal year, the sector’s output and contribution to the national economy will increase significantly in fiscal year 2023/24.
It is difficult to predict the growth of the sector at this time, but I am sure that the massive investment underway in the sector will be greeted with a meteoric contribution to the national economy.