The President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Gilbert F. Houngbo, will travel to the United Republic of Tanzania and meet President John Pombe Joseph Magufuli and other high-ranking officials to discuss investments to improve food and nutrition security, provide employment opportunities for rural youth and reduce poverty.
Recognizing the significant contribution of the agriculture sector to the national economy, IFAD has been providing investment to support the government's strategies to modernize agriculture and transform rural areas.
The visit will take place from 19 to 21 May and will focus on the role of smallholder farmers in ensuring food security in Tanzania, the challenges posed by climate change, the opportunities agriculture can offer to rural youth and the need for greater investment to transform agriculture into a highly productive and competitive sector.
In Tanzania, agriculture is not only the key driver of food production but employment creation, production of raw materials for industries and generation of foreign exchange earnings. It contributes up to 80 per cent of export earnings and employs nearly 75 per cent of the workforce. IFAD will continue supporting the government's strategies for agricultural development and rural transformation for the benefit of poor smallholder farmers.
In addition to the Tanzanian President, Houngbo will meet with the Minister for Finance and Planning, Philip Mpango, the Minister for Agriculture, Japhet Ngailonga Hasunga, and the Minister of State, Prime Minister's Office, Jenista Mhagama.
Houngbo will also see IFAD investments in action in the IFAD-supported Marketing Infrastructure, Value Addition and Rural Finance Support Programme. He will meet with project participants to see first-hand how their lives have been impacted. With a total cost of about US$170 million, the programme is active in all 26 regions of the mainland and Zanzibar, covering 141 rural districts, and has successfully contributed to enhancing smallholders' access to markets and sustainable financial services.
Since 1978, IFAD has financed 15 rural development programmes and projects in the United Republic of Tanzania for a total cost of $839.59 million, with an IFAD investment of $363.48 million, directly benefiting about 4 million rural households.