It is nearly three months gone since being appointed Board Chair of the Cereals and Other Products Board of Tanzania (CPB) by President Samia Suluhu Hasssan but Salum Awadh has already laid down strategies to steer CPB to greater heights.
Speaking to The Business Wiz (TBW) in an exclusive interview last week, Awadh outlined four of his top priorities adding that top on the list would to transform CPB to enable it become a more efficient and competitive entity.
“As a start, I need to ensure that CPB gets a new business look and structure. Apart from other boards, CPB is not a regulatory body but a corporation. Its current structure still has some elements that cannot enable it compete favorably in the business arena so my first priority is to ensure CPB gets a corporate structure.” he said.
According to him, this would go in line with making some amendments in the board’s leadership structure, policies and culture adding that without a corporate structure, the board will not be able to deliver according to its plans.
Awadh said his second priority would be to ensure better management of the board’s storage facilities (warehouses) adding that the board has already laid down strategies to automate its warehouses as part of efforts to improve r efficiency.
He said automation would enable CPB know the stock available, transactions made and the value of stock held on real time basis.
“CPB owns warehouses that are used to store cereals and other products for both short and long term. The stored produce enable us to stabilize prices in the market when the need arises. With the current food inflation pressure, we would be in position to stabilize prices if our warehouses had enough stock,” he added.
He said the CPB board is also weighing options of joining the Commodity Exchange System that will enable CPB trade electronically.
“Technology is now a big facilitator of trade. One can access products in the warehouses without carrying them physically,” he said.
Awadh added,” Our plan is to come up with the Warehouse As A Service (WAAS) business model that will ensure that CPB storage facilities are utilised by anyone seeking modern storage facilities. One can book for space on our system anywhere across the country or even know the closest warehouse available with just a single click,” he added.
He said the third priority would be to ensure value addition for CPB products as part of the efforts to give them a competitive advantage in the market.
“We currently have seven factories producing maize floor, rice, sunflower oil, wheat and other products like cashew nuts. Our production capacity is however still very low and we have not yet optimized the installed capacity. Our products have not been able to penetrate the market and when you visit many supermarkets, chances are that you may not meet our products,” he added
Awadh said his fourth priority would be to come up with a new distributional model that will ensure digitalization of the CPB system to enable consumers order CPB products online and where possible make deliveries.
“This will go in line with an ambitious marketing and branding strategy to ensure visibility of our products,” he added.
He added, “If we stick to the four priorities, I as the board chairman believe CPB can be financially stable and independent,” he said.