The Namibian ambassador to Tanzania Lebbius Tobias says he has unlocked economic activities between the two countries to foster food security at home.
Speaking from Dar es Salaam, Tobias told New Era that last week, he held a meeting with governors from all 14 regions, in which he informed them of the recent partnership to start cultivating rice as well as vegetables and fruits to boost food sustainability.
“I have felt the importance to engage our governors after l have so far visited 14 regions out of 26 in the United Republic of Tanzania. My main visit to regions was based on economic activities that are taking place here. I held talks with regional commissioners of those regions, and their officials as well as some private sectors and individuals,” he said.
“The economic activities in those regions range from agriculture, fishing, mining and forestry – and during my discussions with leaderships of those different regions, I have proposed partnership, which was overwhelmingly accepted – and based on that, l managed to partner all 14 regions of Namibia with regions here in the United Republic of Tanzania.”
The ambassador said the partnerships are in line with the Joint Commission of Cooperation between two countries, which talks about cooperation among ministries, private sectors, regions, towns/cities and people-to-people.
“In terms of agriculture, Tanzania is doing extremely well. There are so many vegetable and fruit-bearing projects Namibians can learn from. My meeting with governors discussed the partnership between their regions and regions in Tanzania, the effectiveness of the partnership that each region in Namibia lies upon them to make sure these agreements are cemented and effected for the benefit of the citizens," reiterated Tobias.
Tanzania produces products such as rice, tea, coffee, groundnuts, maize and beans, among others.
“I have, therefore, requested the governors to facilitate and embark on small-scale rice projects under their offices that they can monitor and make sure it leads to rice production in each region and eventually in the whole country. Rice is very easy to cultivate if our citizens are taught how to go about it, which is not even something that takes a day to be taught, but less than an hour. Rice can be cultivated during the rainy season – the same way some of our citizens cultivate mahangu and maize – and within those months, they harvest. If we all can be committed to doing so, Namibia will be a rice-producing country – and we will no longer talk about hunger, and even forget about the import of rice from somewhere else as is the case in Tanzania. In all supermarkets, one finds rice produced in Tanzania – and it has the name of which region it is produced from,” further stressed Tobias.
In addition, he said, there has been a positive response from various ministries who are willing to provide support to see the realisation of the projects.
“I have also partnered some municipal councils like Katima Mulilo with Mbeya City Council and Swakopmund Municipality with Zanzibar Urban Municipal Council. It is the best time for us to leverage while the co-operations are still in effect,” he urged.