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Agricultural-related factories are dominating in special economic zones (SEZs) accounting for over 40 per cent of the total firms in the SEZs. The Export Zone Processing Authority (EPZA) told ‘Daily News’ yesterday that the agri-firms raging from farming equipment to product processors are currently 40 out of 97 companies which are at various SEZs countrywide.
EPZA’s Principal Investment and Promotion Officer Ms Nakandongo Fares said challenged local and foreign investors to open agri-factories at SEZs and take advantage of ample raw materials obtained in the country. “EPZA has slated over 500 hectares in all of 26 regions in the mainland specifically for SEZs for agricultural investment,” Ms Fares said.
In total, she told Daily News at the sideline of Agritech East Africa Exhibition, the capital of companies invested in the special has reached 1.3tri/- and have offered 20,015 jobs for the locals between 2016 and last year. Ms Fares said some of the investment into processing crops such as cocoa, Irish potatoes, vegetables and medicinal plants payback handsomely.
Under the Export Processing Zones regulation, investors are required to sell abroad 80 per cent of their products and the remaining 20 per cent selling locally. EPZA also connects agricultural investors with technologically advanced companies which helps investors in the EPZ system to harness technology, reap more crops organically and hence win more export markets.
Elven Agric Company Limited, Business Lead, Syed Fazil, said EPZA assisted them to obtain 900 acres of land in Bagamoyo, Coast and supported them to import duty-free machinery. “[Currently] we are exporting almost 200 tonnes of various fruits, vegetables, chilli’s other spices to 22 countries, most of them in Europe,” Mr Fazil said.
Elven Agric has employed more than 70 people and we are supporting 50 out-growers in Coast, Morogoro and Dodoma. The three days Agri Tech Exhibitions ended on Wednesday and brought together over 150 exhibitors. Some 5000 visitors from agribusiness communities from Tanzania and East Africa were expected to visit the fair.