Current Trade News

Agriculture holds the promise of transforming Tanzania's economy better than any other sector according to the World Bank, but the government must first fix its policies and regulatory issues.
In its 13th Tanzania Economic Update report dubbed Transforming Agriculture, the World Bank bases its argument on the fact that agriculture provides more than 67 per cent of all the jobs in the country and contributes nearly 30 per cent to the country's total GDP.
"The current trends in agriculture and related value chains offer a tremendous opportunity to catalyze private investment, both local and foreign, and raise the incomes of the poor," said World Bank Country Director for Tanzania Bella Bird when he launched the report on December 3.
Tanzania experienced a steady rise of commercialized and more productive small-scale farmers to 25 per cent from 19 per cent between 2008 and 2014. The proportion of farms that were primarily subsistence-oriented and small-scale fell to 31 per cent in 2014 from 43 per cent in 2008.
"Since 2008, there has been a growing number of medium-scale farmers who have opened up opportunities for smallholder farmers through positive spillovers," reads the report.
About 368,000 medium-scale farms were added in the market, creating over 13 million days of hired agriculture workers.
"The 776,473 medium-scale farmers invest in technology and knowledge, and they attract commercial services that can provide a basis for tax revenue. And the effect of this is that small-scale farms on average improved their farming outcomes," said Holger Kray, World Bank agriculture practice manager and co-author of the report.
Agriculture contributes about $1 billion in earnings to Tanzania's foreign exchange kitty, mainly from cash crop exports -- coffee, cotton, sisal, cashew nuts, tobacco and tea.

EAST African businesswomen are calling for the establishment of a digital economy to facilitate women doing business in the region.
The women who met here last week under the auspices of the East African Women in Business Platform (EAWiBP) observed that they still lacked skills of doing business using digital economy.
They also decried the lack of regional accreditation for Women in business and the lack trust when doing online business among business women.
"We are calling the six partner states to establish a digital platform for showcasing products and services to boost regional trade and develop an EAC business accreditation policy," outlined Ms Nancy Gitonga, the platform's regional coordinator while delivering the recommendations from women in business focal points from the six partner states at a consultative workshop on mainstreaming gender-related challenges in the EAC regional agenda.
The East African businesswomen opined that creating a database for the service providers as business centre will help them access business services across EAC partner states.
They also rooted for the formulation of a creative technological based service platform for linking farmers and traders for enhancing trade as well as establishing women in business innovation and incubation hubs within the EAC.
"There's limited digital infrastructure that can benefit women small and medium entrepreneurs there it is equally important to have such platforms," suggested the EAWIBP regional coordinator.
EAWiBP also wants the inclusion of its members in the EAC Common External Tariff(CET) review team.
Among other things, the review team will seek to breathe life into the stalled review of the EAC's (CET), a project that has delayed for over two years after the member states failed to reach a consensus on how to change the three-band tariff structure.
The EAC partner states have failed to reach a consensus in three consecutive meetings, every time going back to do "further consultations" in their home countries.
Talks on the CET dispute which largely revolves around the number of tariff bands to be included in the new taxation structure and the type of goods to be put in each new band, were scheduled to in October this year.
In the same vein, the businesswomen called for the sensitization and awareness creation of women in business on the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) which came into force in May 30 this year.
The women rooted for funding and building of resources within EAWiBP for dissemination on the AfCFTA policy and capacity building for the women in business to leverage its benefits.
EAWiBP is a forum that brings together business and professional women from across the EAC.
It draws its mandate from the Treaty for the Establishment of East African Community, particularly under Chapter 25 and Articles 121 and 122 and is inspired by the vision of becoming "A Women's Centre of Excellence for Intra and Extra-EAC Trade".

Dar es Salaam — Rising demand for meat, compounded by low cattle supplies, has pushed meat prices up in Dar es Salaam, with analysts projecting that a kilogramme of beef will cross the Sh10,000-mark during the festive season.
Basically, the commercial city has two types of meat retailers. There are those traders who buy live cattle; slaughter them and retail the same in their butcheries.
Shops operated by these traders are retailing a kilogram of beef at Sh6,500. The other category comprises of a majority of butchery operators in the commercial city dealing mainly with those who buy slaughtered meat at wholesale prices at the Vingunguti Abattoir.
With wholesale prices rising by an average of 21 per cent during the past one month, retailers in the second category have also pushed theirs (retail prices) up.
"Currently, a kilogram of beef at the Vingunguti Abattoir fetches between Sh6,300 and Sh6,500 as wholesale price. Two months ago, the same fetched between Sh5,000 and Sh5,500. What you see in retail outlets is a reflection of what is happening here," the chairman for a co-operative union for traders in livestock and livestock products at Vingunguti, Mr Joel Meshaki, told The Citizen in an interview.
In a number of retail outlets, a kilogram of beef currently fetches between Sh7,500 and Sh8,500.
According to Mr Meshaki, the rise is largely due to a slowdown in cattle supply at the market. Currently, an average of 400 and 450 cattle are slaughtered at Vingunguti per day, a drop from an average of 500 and 650 during times of normal supply.
The market master at the Pugu Livestock Market, Mr Kerambo Samwel told The Citizen that the rise has been associated with a drop in cattle supply at the market from source regions of Geita, Mwanza, Rukwa, Morogoro, Mara, Arusha, Simiyu and Tabora. Cattle supplies started to dwindle in September and October, but it they slowly but began to rise towards the end of November.
"In September, we received 33, 390 cattle here at Pugu Market. We sold 32 804 of them. In October, the number dropped to 28, 961. We filled the gap for demand by selling the 586 cattle that were brought here in September and those that had been kept here for some time. That way, we were able to sell 30,738 cattle in October," he said.

In November, a total of 29, 353 cattle were supplied to Pugu Market while the total number of cattle sold stood at 33,190.
A decrease in supply, said Mr Samwel, was largely due to availability of pasture as rains started falling in some source regions. Some livestock keepers were also hoarding their livestock in anticipation that they will get better prices during the festive season.
A cattle trader at Pugu Market Mr Mengi Nollo said most of the livestock from Mwanza region are currently sold in Kenya through Sirari boarder.
"There is a huge livestock market at Sirari. We currently receive cattle from Shinyanga, Simiyu and Tabora," he said.
According to Mr Meshaki some cattle from upcountry regions ends up in Dodoma where meat demand has increased since the government relocated its operations from Dar es Salaam to the capital city.
Mr Maelo Machage, a cattle trader at Pugu Market said he used to pay Sh500,000 for a 120-kilogram cow but the same now costs him Sh800,000.
A cow weighing 260 kilograms currently fetches up to Sh1.6 million from Sh1.2 million a few months ago.


Access to credit, which can be a true lifeline for micro, small, or medium sized businesses, remains one of the key challenges that individuals and small companies face in Malawi.
RBM Governor Dalitso Kabambe ICF's Madalo Minofu (2nd right) Kapito (2nd left) stressing a point during the panel discussion
This was said by World Bank Group's International Finance Corporation's Resident Representative for Malawi and Zambia, Madalo Minofu at the launch of the 2019 Credit Awareness Week graced by the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Malawi, Dalitso Kabambe, who is also the Registrar of Financial Institutions.
With support from the World Bank, the initiative is to increase the general public and specific target groups' awareness and understanding of the merits of accessing and borrowing money from licensed or registered lending institutions including banks, microfinance institutions and savings and credit cooperatives (SACCOs) as opposed to borrowing from informal lending institutions.
Minofu said if a business can access credit, it can grow and create jobs, leading to a stronger, more productive economy and a better quality of life.
"As we are gathered here today to launch the credit awareness week in Malawi, I would like to re-iterate the World Bank Group's continued commitment to helping Malawi develop a strong and sustainable financial sector, including through credit infrastructure," Minofu said.
"Credit infrastructure is one of the building blocks that allows financial institutions and other lenders to grow their portfolios -- increasing access to credit and, at the same time, maintaining financial stability.
"It protects the interests of financial institutions and lenders, and it also protects the rights of borrowers."
She observed that over the past years, Malawi has made incredible strides in enhancing its credit infrastructure -- including through its well-functioning and modern collateral registry and improving its credit reporting system.
One of the partners to the awareness campaign are credit reference bureaus, that will be sharing with the public their importance in order to access credit facilities from financial service institutions.
Credit reference bureaus provide a potential loan borrower's credit history that is passed on to financial institutions for them to make informed decisions whether to award the loan or not.
This is one other system that clients can use their credit reputation as collateral apart from using moveable collateral.
Minofu said for credit to truly have a positive effect on the lives of Malawians, credit providers and consumers alike need to better understand their rights and obligations when it comes to lending and borrowing.
"For this reason, initiatives like this credit awareness week are critical; by spreading financial education and awareness to communities, workplaces, and places of worship, you are helping all Malawians take control of their financial future.
"Malawians should feel empowered to use their credit history as a tool to access credit with better terms and conditions; understand how credit works and borrow responsibly; and feel confident that their rights as consumers are also protected in the process.
"It is also our hope as International Finance Corporation that all Malawians -- whether a small business owner, an entrepreneur, a salaried employee, or even a student -- will become financially healthy and check their free credit report once a year."
She congratulated the Reserve Bank of Malawi for organizing the credit awareness week and for Kabambe's steadfast partnership with IFC and dedication to improving access to finance in Malawi.
One of IFC's financial partner, the Kingdom of Denmark, is supporting the credit infrastructure work in Malawi.
There was also a panel discussion at the launch that involved Kabambe himself, Consumer Association of Malawi executive director, John Kapito; Bankers Association of Malawi president, Kwanele Ngwenya (who is also chief executive officer for NBS Bank); Malawi Union of Savings & Credit Cooperatives (MUSCCO) CEO Fumbani Nyangulu and Rogers Lungu, representing credit reference bureaus.
They all touched on the importance of understating credit terms and conditions such interest rate, repayment period, short term or long term loan, consequences of default before signing a credit agreement between a lending institution and a borrower.
They also talked on consumer rights and obligations when accessing credit and the benefits of accessing and using credit history reports from credit reference bureaus for informed financial decision making.
Kapito asked the RBM Governor if the commercial banks and other lending institutions must always civic educate clients before they sign loan forms on some of the conditions that are always attached but presented in fine print, which are not always known by the client.
"Some people have fallen into credit traps because they did not know of some of the loan conditions which were written in fine print," Kapito said.
"After a client has been paying for a while, and thinking that they have completed the loan, they discover to their horror that what they have been repaying was the interest and that they need to start repaying the premium.
"The banks need to sensitise the clients on all conditions attached because in most cases people needing a loan are always desperate for the money and don't have the patience to go through the fine print," he said.
Kapito said the awareness campaign should also sensitize people that they should not borrow when there is a need only but when they identify an opportunity for that loan to make more money.
Kabambe, who said it is unfortunate that out of the Malawi's total population, only 3 percent are accessing credit facilities because of financial illiteracy, which the awareness campaign aims at addressing.
He said others opt to borrow from loan sharks (katapila), which does not protect the interest of the borrower and in most cases, they fall into credit traps that end into seeing their property confiscated.

Chiredzi — High input costs are threatening the viability of the 2020 sugarcane farming season.
Cane farmers say the prices of fertilizers and herbicides are now beyond their reach and this may affect sugarcane production.
Commercial Sugarcane Farmers Association of Zimbabwe Chairperson, Admore Hwarari said they were concerned about the rising cost of fertilizers and herbicides.
"As farmers we have not been spared by the current economic crisis particularly on the prices of our inputs; fertilizers, herbicides as well as spare parts," he said.
A Hippo valley sugarcane farmer, Muchineripi Mazhata added that inputs played a critical role in the seasonal cropping plans and any upward adjustment of prices had an effect of increasing production costs.
A survey by CAJ News Africa showed the price of fertilizers had increased by 60 percent.
Before the recent wave of price hikes, the average prize of a 50kg bag of Ammonium Nitrate was 320 Bond (Z$320) but it has shot up to 660 Bond (Z$660) at hardware shop, Farmware.
At Farm and City and Electro Sales in Chiredzi, the price of Ammonium Nitrate was on Monday pegged in Bond at 854 (Z$854) while compound D was prized at Z$665 with Compound C going for Z$800.
Sugarcane is a perennial crop grown in Lowveld's Mkwasine, Hippo valley and Triangle which typically takes 12 months to reach maturity.
It is also a luxuriant consumer of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium as well as various herbicides for high yields.
"Proper soils and nutrient management is key to achieving high yields from sugarcane farmers. Farmers must buy phosphorus which provides the sugarcane with energy it needs to grow both above and below ground," said Hwarari.
"An adequate supply of phosphorus at the beginning of the season helps crops to grow a large health root system which it uses to absorb water and nutrients while potassium provides the mechanism with which to move the sugar produced from the leaves to the internodes for storage," he said.

The implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will create opportunities for the BRICS investment partners to develop infrastructure on the continent, says President Cyril Ramaphosa.
South Africa, he says, sees an important role for the BRICS formation to contribute to these efforts.
The President made these remarks at a cocktail reception he hosted in honour of African Ambassadors accredited to Brazil. President Ramaphosa is in the South American country, where he is leading a South African delegation to the 11th BRICS Summit from 13 - 14 November 2019.
"We seek to build a more inclusive partnership between the leaders of BRICS countries and the elected leaders of African institutions. Apart from the BRICS Framework of Cooperation, BRICS countries have worked individually to promote cooperation and development with Africa," the President said.
President Ramaphosa said the partnership pursued through the BRICS-Africa outreach is rooted in a firm belief in the political, economic and social potential of the African continent.
"It speaks to the promotion of peace and security, advancing industrial capacity and economic integration, and champions a people-centred approach to sustainable development.
"As African nations, there has never been a better time to deepen our collaboration to ensure the African Continental Free Trade Area, our most ambitious collective venture yet, is a success."
This, he said, is an opportunity to grow the continent's economies and to use its considerable collective resources to uplift citizens and improve their conditions.
"Together, we are working to grow the economies of African countries through innovation, infrastructure development and trade."
Speaking on the pending countdown to the launch of the AfCFTA, the President was confident the agreement would, in addition to its economic impact, have far-reaching political, social, physical and international effects.
"On the economic front, it will improve access to existing markets and lead to the creation of new ones. The free flow of goods and services will enable African businesses and entrepreneurs to expand their horizons and unleash the industrial capability of the continent.
"The removal of trade barriers will lower prices and benefit consumers. Business costs will be reduced and business efficiency will be raised," said President Ramaphosa.
On the political front, he said, the AfCFTA will help to consolidate the union among all African States and reduce the potential for conflict.
"From a social perspective, it is likely to result in a more cosmopolitan Africa as the greater movement of people and skills brings more people of diverse backgrounds and nationalities together," he said.
He said the AfCFTA will also have a broader international impact as Africa will be able to deal with other trade blocs from a position of greater strength, able to demonstrate economies of scale.
As the incoming chair of the African Union next year, South Africa will put great emphasis on giving effect to the agreement on the Continental Free Trade Area.