WHY EAST AFRICA: THE TANZANIAN CONTEXT
Tanzania is a country of 43 million with an average per capital annual GDP of $500 with most of the wealth concentrated in urban areas. Roughly 75% of the population resides in rural areas and 80% derive the bulk of their income from agriculture, and have an income substantially below the national average of roughly $1.85 per person per day. This suggests that to sustainably bring changes to the current health, education, nutrition and housing paradigm will require a substantial increase in the income generated by small-holder farmers.
Tanzania has an equatorial climate at a variety of elevations which enable year-round agricultural production, rich soil, adequate sources of water and large tracks of land that have not been polluted by the addition of modern chemicals. As a result there are an extensive variety of commodities and high value crops that can be grown.
Climate change is impacting the most vulnerable of our food producers. In the first half of the 20th Century drought was an every 50 years or so phenomenon. By the later part of the Century it had become an every 10 year event. Today droughts occur every 2 to 4 years in many parts of the country. Fortunately, through GAFCO, farmers are able to access irrigation technologies that mitigate this serious issue.
Tanzania is geographically well positioned to serve European, Middle Eastern, Indian sub-continent, South African and East African markets. The Great African Food Company is a catalyst for smallholder farmers to realize economic benefits from their country’s fertile volcanic soils and water enabling them to better educate their children, access better health care and buy their own smart phones and laptops to become part of today's dynamic information rich economy.