The 13th Africa Food Systems Forum is currently underway in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, from September 5, 2023, to September 8, 2023. This forum has brought together a diverse array of participants from the private sector and various governments worldwide.
President Samia Suluhu began her speech by acknowledging the significance of the youth demographic in Africa, constituting over 60% of the continent’s population. She stressed the need to prioritize and engage this vital demographic, listen to their challenges, and understand their aspirations.
“It is high time that we engage with our youth and women, listen to their challenges, and recognise what prevents them from perceiving agriculture as a viable opportunity for improving their lives,” President Samia Suluhu stated.
In her address, President Samia detailed Tanzania’s efforts to empower its youth through agriculture. The Tanzanian government has developed a strategic plan named “Building a Better Tomorrow” (BBT) with the aim of ensuring that agriculture contributes 10% to the country’s GDP by 2030. This initiative is designed to enable youth to participate in the agricultural sector, enhance their livelihoods, and address the issue of unemployment.
Dr.Samia Suluhu, elaborated on the strategic goals of BBT, which include inspiring youth to engage in sustainable and profitable projects such as crop production, livestock farming, and fisheries. The program also seeks to empower youth through training, mentoring, coaching, and fostering youth-led enterprises by improving the business environment.
BBT provides youth and women with access to land, market training, and financial support while also introducing them to modern agricultural technologies. The overarching objective is to create 3 million direct jobs by 2030. Since its inception in 2022, BBT has already registered 1,252 young individuals, with 812 of them embarking on a four-month agribusiness training program in 13 incubation centers.
Furthermore, in a significant investment in grain production, youth and women’s groups will be granted 10 hectares of land on a 66-year lease. The government has allocated TZS 10.7 billion for loans to support this initiative. Early indicators suggest that youth can be a transformative force in enhancing food production in Tanzania and across Africa.
President Samia Suluhu affirmed her government’s commitment to facilitating the success of these initiatives and called upon the private sector and development partners to support these endeavours. She emphasized that Tanzania’s agricultural development goals are not confined to the nation but are intended to benefit Africa and the broader international community.
In conclusion, President Samia Suluhu’s address at the 13th Africa Food Systems Forum highlights Tanzania’s dedication to empowering its youth in agriculture and aligning with the vision of making Africa a hub for innovation, investment, and sustainable food production.