Contributed by: Rommel Mauma (Asante, mzee!)
It is with great pleasure that I would like esteemed readers to avail themselves with the following Home News item fresh from the Daily News, Friday,October 27, 2006:
Daily NewsOctober 27, 2006Mara told to attract investors
by PATI MAGUBIRA in Musoma
PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete yesterday challenged Mara Region to market its abundant resources and employ modern agricultural and livestock keeping to improve living standards of its residents and contribute effectively to the national economy.
Opening a two-day Investor’s Forum here, Mr Kikwete commended the Mara Regional Commissioner, Mr Isidore Shirima, for organising the forum, which he said, would shed light of abundant resources with which the region is endowed to local and foreign investors.
He called on other regional authorities to have their own development agenda in their jurisdiction area, observing that some of the leaders were ignorant of natural resources available in their areas."We must admit that one of our weaknesses in the past include the failure to sell our up-country natural resources to investors," he said, stressing that such attitude amongst the leaders ought to be changed, as every success in the modern world called for publicity.
Mr Kikwete told Mara people not to depend on cotton as a major cash crops but should also increase production of groundnuts, millet, tobacco, maize, coffee and sunflower which flourish well in the region.
The president observed that although Mara was endowed with over 2.5 million hectares of arable land, over two million hectares, including 29,590 hectares suitable for irrigation farming, were not in use.
With 1.3 million cows, 620,748 goats, 179,018 sheep and 9,860 donkeys, he said, Mara was the sixth richest region in the country in terms of the biggest number of livestock. He noted, however, that the wealth had not been tapped to improve the living standard of herders.
He advised the region to allocate at least 100 blocs of 200 hectares for modern livestock keeping to attract dairy processing factories.
He directed Mara authorities to see to it that the dairy processing factory was revived to create a market for livestock keepers.
Mr Kikwete said strategies should be drawn for better fishing activities to improve the income of about 40 per cent of the people in the region who depend on the sub-sector.
He said that efforts should be made to produce locally fishing gears so that locals could have ease access to them at affordable prices.
The president further noted that Mara was also endowed with minerals, ranging from gold to limestone and gems and yet people were not effectively benefiting from the resources. He said small miners should be empowered technologically and financially to increase their productivity.
"So is the case with water," he added, explaining that 10,584 square kilometres of the entire area of 31,150 kilometres were covered with water, yet Mara residents did not regard the precious liquid as a necessary agricultural input.
He further challenged the region to embark on irrigation farming by reviving at least three of the collapsed projects.
"Good fishing practices must also be employed to enable 40 per cent of the resident relying on the industry to improve their lives," he said, adding that the move called for attracting all sorts of investors, including world class ones.
The presence of world-class investors such as Barrick Gold Tanzania Limited and Sasakwa VIP Grumet Hotel Investment in the country could also be used to attract more investors, the president observed.