President Kikwete calls for investments in Mara Region

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 News
October 27, 2006 
Mara told to attract investors

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. 

One thought on “President Kikwete calls for investments in Mara Region

  1. Tanzania: With an Airport There, Serengeti Shall Now Die

    The East African (Nairobi)
    January 16, 2007
    Posted to the web January 16, 2007
    Karl Lyimo
    Unless and until the relevant authorities in Tanzania – the government included – take immediate steps to reverse the current developments around the Serengeti National Park, it will surely die.
    If and when this happens, it will be an extremely sad day indeed for Tanzania, and a most unfortunate development for the world.
    Recent press reports say that Tanzania is planning to construct a multimillion dollar modern airport in Serengeti District.
    A large part of the district consists of the Serengeti National Park, described as the mother of all national parks – and a major tourist destination in Tanzania.
    APPARENTLY, A US-based game hunting firm, Grumeti Reserves Ltd, is supporting the project, which is scheduled to commence this year.
    In that regard, about $400,000 has already been set aside for compensation to villagers living in the area to pave the way for construction of the airport.
    Ostensibly, the project is aimed at attracting more tourists to the park. As it is today, Serengeti already attracts about 90,000 tourists annually from around the world. To put this in perspective, Tanzania hosted just over 500,000 tourists last year.
    Airports have been proved the world over to be noisy, smelly and pollutingfor both man and beast, to say nothing about their impact on the environment. So how will the construction of one be beneficial to Serengeti?
    With 14,763 square kilometres of protected area, the park – which borders Kenya’s Maasai Mara Game Park – is Tanzania’s largest and most famous. It is famous for its tree-climbing lions and the annual wildebeest migration, lately touted as one of the modern wonders of the world.
    The migration is considered the largest mass movement of land mammals on earth. Wave upon wave of animals move into Kenya in search of greener pastures, and back again in accordance with nature’s orchestration.
    Now, what will happen to that poetry in motion if and when an airport is constructed in or near the Park?
    What will happen to that natural phenomenon in the event that an airport is constructed in or near the park?
    CURRENTLY, SERENGETI is managed jointly by the Tanzania National Parks Authority (Tanapa) and the Frankfurt Zoological Society.
    One can only think of “Serengeti Shall Now Die,” as a reality twist on the title to an Oscar-winning documentary based on a book by Prof Bernhard Grzimek titled Serengeti darf nicht sterben or Serengeti Shall Not Die.
    Taking into consideration what Prof Grzimek said, wrote and did, we will be doing a gross disservice to mankind to undermine that heritage today.
    Prof Grzimek put Serengeti firmly on the world map – and did much to alert the world to the plight of Africa’s wildlife on the eve of Tanzania’s Independence in 1961.
    Indeed, the park is already open to all manner of despoliation, and even destruction, through wanton human activities, worst among them being poaching.
    But, for the very government itself to be part and parcel of that despoliation – even in the name of progress – is the worst sacrilege perpetrated upon nature, history and posterity.
    It would seem that the authorities are still in a slumber as regards the comparative and competitive advantages that Tanzania has with a pristine park.
    Building an airport – or indeed, any other structure of similar magnitude – in Serengeti is a deadly stab in the heart of the country’s most precious tourism asset.
    Karl Lyimo is a freelance journalist based in Dar es Salaam

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