Self-sufficiency in food is Tanzania`s salvation
Food security is vital for any country, whether developed or underdeveloped. Being dependent on other countries for food supply is a very risky business.
A state that depends on large grain supplies from outside risks falling victim of those who use food as a weapon, as they may be compelled to do so at one time or another in pursuit of geo-strategic national interests.
For a country`s leadership to let itself become food dependant amounts to surrendering territorial integrity, because a person who feeds you is entitled to instruct how you should behave.
Moreover, for a poor country like Tanzania, the purchase of huge stocks of food products from abroad on annual basis weighs heavily on the balance of payments, as the money could also have been utilized to serve other pressing requirements.
This age-old reality is even more true today as major economic powers in Europe and America are facing unprecedented financial crisis which have not been felt for decades.
Prior to the advent of the current financial crisis, the world experienced a twin-surge of acute grain shortage and spiraling petroleum products prices.
There were riots in cities across the world as protesters felt the pinch of dwindling food supplies, which were mostly imported mainly because the economic strategies of those countries had ignored the small holder farmers and had instead adopted counter-productive policies that were bent towards depending on investment of giant multinationals in agriculture and reducing food-growing areas in favour of producing bio-fuels.
In Africa, there are very few countries that have given priority to agriculture and in cases where they have done so, they have buttressed cash-crop rather than food production.
The main drive in other countries has been to wait for commercial farmers to come to their rescue.
However, such expectations did not work even in a certain African country during its hey-days of bustling food production by commercial farmers, whose first priority was to make good money by exporting stored food stocks to lucrative markets at a time when their countrymen were experiencing acute drought and people were collapsing while waiting for food hand-outs.
In order to avoid becoming a vulnerable society in today`s world, Tanzania must make food security its highest priority.
Luckily enough, it seems that our top national leaders have seen the danger we might put ourselves into if we do not attain food sufficiency.
Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda, during his recent meeting with editors, said due to the fact we do not at this stage know how exactly Tanzania would be affected by the global financial crisis, Tanzania`s salvation lies in agriculture.
The PM said that if we failed to feed our people that would be a shame, and that our main focus should therefore be self-sufficiency.
The Premier has indeed made a right statement. However, we urge him to go further by helping initiate a green revolution, in spite of the fact that he is irked by the arm-chair performance of the country`s political executives.
- SOURCE: Guardian
Source: Zuwena Shame, http://ippmedia.com
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