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Tanzania: Investors Set to Inject Billions Into Agriculture

Venance George

Kilombero — The widely publicised agricultural revolution, under the Kilimo Kwanza (Agriculture first) banner, is real in Kilombero District, where large swathes of land are being earmarked for large-scale rice production.

TanzaniaThousands of Kilombero residents are expected to secure employment as food production in the district is expected to far outstrip demand when three investors pump money into three large-scale rice production projects, Kilombero District Commissioner Evarist Ndikilo said here on Wednesday.

“Three companies are in various stages of developing large-scale rice production projects in the district…we are on the move,” Mr Ndikilo told The Citizen in an interview.

The three areas include the Kihansi and Merera valleys. In the former, Syngen Company is in the process of acquiring 12,000 hectares for rice production while in the latter, Merera Plantation is currently undertaking an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to acquire 10,000 hectares for paddy production.

Chita National Service Unit (JKT Chita) is also in final stages of developing a 5,000-hectare area on which to irrigate rice. “We also have 5,128 hectares of land at Utengule that is fit for rice production and we are still searching for a serious investor,” Mr Mdikilo said.

He added that the district was also searching for a serious investor to develop 10,000 hectares of Rupia Valley.

“Our aim is to have a modern sugar factory in Rupia Valley which will help to curb frequent sugar shortages in the country….realisation of these projects will surely make the district a force to be reckoned with insofar as commercial agriculture is concerned in the entire country,” he said.

Already, Kilombero Plantation Ltd (KPL), which runs a rice estate at Mngeta in the district, has helped to raise the area’s profile.

The company owns 5,818 hectares in the district. It produced 3,900 tonnes of rice from 3,000 hectares during the 2009/2010 farming season.

So far, Mr Ndikilo aid, the company had invested Sh30 billion in the project.

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