Navigating Tanzania’s agro-industrial transformation

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Tanzania has commenced a considerable infrastructural transformation. Cautious investors in the country’s agro-industry stand unprecedented chances to gain abundant revenues.  As a well-grounded consultant, matchmaker and liaison hand,  I aim to promote investment in Tanzania’s  agroprocessing development. The following are lines along which I develop a hands-on collaborative investment approach;

  • The local business environment is already inherently challenging and risky. The commenced transformation adds both opportunity and risk. When the smoke has settled the scene will be less challenging, less risky and bear less promise of abundant gains.
  • Foreign investors in current Tanzania  should aim to take a first adequate minimum viable position from which to take or leave larger longer term positions
  • Any investment will require an informed, reliable perception of relevant circumstances, the rate of change of these circumstances and their likely future path. Unfortunately, the many inherent uncertainties make predictions difficult. There are probably as many well constructed predictions about the medium term developments, as there are scattered pieces of information to interpret.
  • Rather than drawing on over ambitious analyses of shaky data, a first position should be small but sufficiently diversified.
  • A key success factor in agroprocessing is to have satisfactory access to the whole supply chain from farm gate to shop shelf.
  • The most reliable way to lasting insight about the current environment is through hands-on navigation and adaption to local challenges.

All these basic requirements can be met by developing and managing collaboratively with viable, local small-scale ventures. Local enterprises either have or know how to build adequate networks and recruit satisfactory human resources. Successful local entrepreneurs are well submerged in their  local circumstances. They have acquired crucial skills and flexibility to navigate instabilities and uncertainties in supply, delivery and transport. A small investment by Western standards with  access to newer technologies or inputs and training, can take both parties to the next stage quickly.

For example and ; A first investment  for learning-by-doing purposes could be upgrading a maize mill and include a process to utilize residue for mixing animal feed. A second business association with a local hatchery would secure some feed off-take and provide access to grocery distributors. Both the miller and the hatchery can save transport cost, secure reliable transportation and offer transport services on the market through a joint investment in a few small-to-medium size trucks.