During the Tanzanian launch of B4FA’s new book Insights: Africa’s future – can biosciences contribute?, eminent scientists and policymakers gathered alongside over 50 journalists in Arusha, Tanzania on 16 April to discuss the implications of biosciences and agricultural technologies for Tanzania’s society and economy.
Arusha’s District Commissioner John Mongella noted, “In view of the challenges involved all existing methods to improve agricultural productivity deserve serious consideration and should be made available for farmers to make use of them. Africa is a continent of immense richness; this wealth needs to be harnessed. This book Insights will greatly contribute to public debate and understanding here in Tanzania, and I am sure it will provoke a great deal of interest. I am delighted to launch it in partnership with B4FA and its authors on behalf of the Regional Commissioner”.
Bob Shuma of the Tanzanian Seed Trade Association added, “On behalf of the Tanzania Seed Trade Association (TASTA) and on my own behalf, we thank the organisers for giving us this privilege to share the launching of Insights which we urge all stakeholders to ensure is widely shared with the youth of our nation and Africa at large, to add value to our nation’s motto and strategy –“Kilimo Kwanza” Agriculture First, whose objective is to sustainably increase economical agricultural productivity to feed the nation.”
From the scientific sector, Dr. Roshan Abdallah (Director of Technical Services, Tropical Pesticides Research Institute) offered her view. “There is no critical mass of profitable agricultural businesses in Tanzania at present. However, the agricultural sector is facing many challenges throughout its value chain. In addition, the impact of climate change will continue to make the situation even worse. I will focus on the positive aspects, though. We have a sufficient number of highly trained and skilled researchers to undertake core R&D activities in Tanzania. We also have physical infrastructure. There is also an adequate farmland area in prime agricultural areas for research and investment. We also have on-going policy changes and reforms … which favour agriculture as the development and growth engine.”
Sir Brian Heap, B4FA’s project leader, commented: “Can Africa do biotechnology on its own? Can Africa use it to good effect by working with the many organisations that exist worldwide? There are a number of thoughtful, moving essays in our book, written primarily by African experts, that help to shed light on some of these questions.”