TANZANIA has set agriculture among its to priorities in this financial year, as it seeks to meet local food demand and become a food basket for the continent.
Agriculture impacts society in many ways, including: supporting livelihoods through food, habitat, and jobs; providing raw materials for food and other products; and building strong economies through trade.
Among steps taken by the government is throwing its weight behind irrigation schemes, so as to do away with dependence of unpredictable rain that has caused setbacks to many farmers as well as the nation.
It was reported yesterday that 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.
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 on Friday by NIRC Director General, Mr 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.
A key to why agriculture is important to business and society is its output — from producing raw materials to contributing to the global supply chain and economic development.
Raw materials are a core building block of the global economy. Without access to raw materials, manufacturers can’t make products. Nonagricultural raw materials include steel, minerals, and coal.
However, many raw materials derive from agriculture — from lumber for construction materials to herbs for adding flavor to food. Corn, for example, is used to produce foods and serves as a foundation for ethanol, a type of fuel. Another example is resins: plant products used in various industrial applications, such as adhesives, coatings and paints used in construction.
NIRC plans to implement 822 irrigation projects, whereas among them, 114 would specifically deal with the construction of major dams while 103 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. That is a good plan, great work; the government worth to be praised.
Countries with strong agricultural sectors experience employment growth in other sectors. Countries with agricultural productivity growth and robust agriculture infrastructure also have higher per capita incomes, since producers in these countries innovate through technology and farm management practices to boost agricultural productivity and profitability.
Irrigation, or watering is an important aspect of agriculture and it refers to the practice of applying controlled amounts of water to land to help grow crops, landscape plants, and lawns.
Irrigation has been a key aspect of agriculture for over 5,000 years and has been developed by many cultures around the world. Irrigation helps to grow crops, maintain landscapes, and revegetate disturbed soils in dry areas and during times of below-average rainfall.
In addition to these uses, irrigation is also employed to protect crops from frost, suppress weed growth in grain fields, and prevent soil consolidation. It is also used to cool livestock, reduce dust, dispose of sewage, and support mining operations. Drainage, which involves the removal of surface and sub-surface water from a given location, is often studied in conjunction with irrigation.