AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT: Reforms take giant leap

THE National Irrigation Commission (NIRC) is, in 2023/24 financial year, expected to implement several robust projects that aim at increasing irrigation farming at the tune of about 256,185 hectares to meet its target of having 1.2 million hectares by 2025 as directed by the 2020-2025 CCM manifesto.

In the plan, NIRC will equally focus on the implementation of the Third Five-Year Development Plan (FYDP-III) 2021/2022-2025/2026 as well as the second phase of the Agricultural Sector Development Plan
(ASDP-II) which targets to have 8.5 million hectares by 2030 (Agenda 10/30).

The institution’s plans were unveiled here on Friday by NIRC Director General, Raymond Mndolwa when addressing journalists on the implementation of the responsibilities of his organisation as well as giving the roadmap for the commission in the 2023/24 financial year.

In order to meet the target, Mr Mndolwa said that his commission was planning to implement 822 irrigation projects, whereas among them, 114 would focus on the construction and rehabilitation of irrigation schemes.

“The key priority areas in 2023/24 include completion of 25 new schemes that were initiated in the 2022/23 financial year, completion of the construction of irrigation infrastructure in 30 different schemes that were initiated in 2022/23,’’ he noted.

The NIRC boss further explained that his commission was also planning to complete the construction of 14 dams with the capacity of 131.5 million cubic metres that were equally initiated in 2022/23, as well as
completion of design of 22 irrigation river basins, an exercise that kicked off in 2022/23.

Other activities, according to him, include kicking off of the construction of irrigation infrastructure in 22 water basins totaling 306,361 hectares, establishing the construction of 35 new irrigation schemes with a total of 111,390 hectares, repairing irrigation infrastructure on 24 schemes with 32,092 hectares, conducting a feasibility study on 100 new dams with an average of cubic metres 936.5 million as well as beginning their construction.

Mr Mndolwa also noted that his commission would equally construct irrigation infrastructure in block farms with a total of 79,518.46 hectares in Kigoma, Njombe, Mbeya, Kagera and Dodoma regions through the Building a Better Tomorrow (BBT) programme.

When tabling the 2023/24 budget for the ministry, the Minister for Agriculture, Hussein Bashe said that the National Irrigation Commission had been allocated over 373.5bn/-

At a media conference yesterday, the Director General of NIRC said that his organisation had attained tremendous achievements, insisting that as of June 2023, NIRC had signed 48 contracts for the construction and rehabilitation of irrigation infrastructure amounting to 234.1bn/-.

“We also signed 22 contracts for feasibility study and detailed design totaling 25bn/- as well as 23.9bn/- three other contracts for procuring vehicles and plants,’’ he said, adding that NIRC also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with two companies from Italy and Spain for carrying out a review of the feasibility study and detailed design of the Mara river basin and the Kisegese project in the Kilombero river basin.

Mr Mndolwa added that NIRC also purchased 53 vehicles, and 15 plants for construction and rehabilitation of irrigation infrastructure.

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