A TOTAL of 31 contracts worth 282.14bn/- for construction and rehabilitation of irrigation schemes were executed during the financial year 2022/23, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa has said.

The contracts included construction of eight new dams, 13 schemes while rehabilitating 17 others.

Premier Majaliwa made the statement in the National Assembly, when tabling the 2023/24 budget proposal for the Prime Minister’s Office in the House here yesterday, where he asked Parliament to endorse its proposed budget of 173.7bn/-, out of which about 121.4bn/- is for recurrent and the remaining 52.3bn/- for development projects.

Mr Majaliwa said the initiative has increased the area size of irrigation scheme from 727,280 hectares in the year 2021/22 to 778,210.6 hectares this year.

The Prime Minister also informed the august House that there is adequate food supply across the country despite effects of climate change.

“In the agricultural season of 2022/23, the national food production stood at 17.4 million tonnes against the actual need that stood at 15.1 million tonnes,” he said, asking Tanzanians to use the available food reserve properly.

According to him, production of enough food has enabled the country to meet the food demand by 115 per cent in the agriculture season 2023/24.

“I’m asking Tanzanians to make a reserve of food crops for the sake of enabling the country to have sufficient food stock throughout the year,” he said.

Speaking of the mitigation in tackling the food crisis in various areas of the country, Premier Majaliwa said a total of 29,084.21 tonnes of food were supplied to 59 district councils that had a shortage for the year 2022/2023.

The maize was sold at cheaper prices for the sake of strengthening food availability in the said areas, the government has also continued to coordinate the supply of fertilisers, seeds and other agricultural inputs in an effort to increase productivity.

According to him, by February this year, fertiliser availability in the country was at 407,333 tonnes, which is 58.33 per cent of the actual need of 698,260 tonnes.

He said the availability was attributed to 28,672 tonnes that was locally manufactured   and 251,697 tonnes that were imported together with 126,963 tonnes that remained in the agricultural season of 2022/2023.

“The government will continue to ensure effective supply and availability of fertiliser to farmers for the sake of meeting the actual demand in all regions,” he explained.

Regarding the shortage of cooking oil, Mr Majaliwa said the government has issued 591.1 tonnes of sunflower seeds to farmers in Singida, Dodoma, Kagera, Mbeya and Mwanza regions under subsidy arrangement.

He was of the view that the move will help to increase production of cooking oil as well as cutting the cost that would be spent in importing the product form various countries.

Moreover, he said the government has distributed 63,606 litres of pesticides in 15 regions.

“This has played a role in protecting 159,015 acres that are used in growing maize and rice, a move that also guarantees food security in the country,” he noted.

He added that as part of efforts to ensure effective provision of services to farmers, the government has enhanced extension services through training and establishment of customer service centres.

Premier Majaliwa said the centre has so far attended to 12,248 farmers and agriculture stakeholders from various parts of the country.

“Moreover, through the M-Kilimo system, we have managed to register 7,269,101 farmers and 9,985 extension officers. This has facilitated issuance of professional advice for improved productivity in the agriculture sector,” he noted further.

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