Investment in telecommunications infrastructure is slowly igniting Tanzania’s national development in agricultural and industrialisation.
Tanzania’s Universal Communication Service Access Fund (UCSAF) says efforts to extend telecommunication infrastructure to remote and underserved parts of the country are bearing fruits.
This comes after the Fund signed a deal to work with the country’s telecommunication companies to work on countrywide telecommunications rollout project.
With Tigo Tanzania, Vodacom, Tanzania Telecommunication Limited (TTCL) and Airtel being part of the arrangement, UCSAF committed to finance construction of communication towers.
So far, some 1,939 villages in 443 wards are now accessible on various mobile phone networks, a rollout that has cost the government some $36,899,328 to date. And over 400 towers have so far been built.
Eng Peter Ulanga, UCSAF Chief Executive Officer said communication towers run by were switched on between 2013 and 2016 and are shared by the country’s mobile operators.
The development has changed lives for most rural dwellers for the better, making it easy for peasant farmers to easily communicate with potential buyers for their produce.
Agriculture is the country’s economy mainstay, contributing USD 13.9bn to its GDP (nearly 30 per cent) and 67 per cent to total employment.
In Chunya District in Mbeya Region, however residents expressed concern that most of their products are not finding reliable market, and want prospective investors to grab the opportunity.
“The area is famous for tobacco farming. After harvesting and drying up the crop we make calls to some traders who come for collection. Bad enough, they are not able to purchase all what we produce,” Kipalala Ward Councilor in Chunya District, Alphonse Msulwila said.
Msulwila urged the government to look for investors to establish tobacco processing plants in the area, noting that the area is reachable all the year round and is currently accessing communication services.
Raw tobacco represents Tanzania’s most important exported cash crop growing from USD 169m worth of exports in 2010 to USD 318m in 2015, followed by cashews which grew from USD 50m to USD 201m and coffee from USD 109m to USD 162m in the same period.
Msulwila said that by setting up tobacco processing factories, farmers would be in a position to benefit from the crop.
Tanzania’s small scale farmers have started to realise potential their regions holds through communicating and interacting with the global world due to improved communication.