TABORA: THE government has intensified efforts towards achieving seed-self-sufficient by 2030 for all farmers in the country through establishing major irrigation schemes for production.
One of them is an irrigation scheme dubbed ‘Samia Block Farm’ in Nzega District, Tabora Region, which will source its water from the Kilimi Dam by using sophisticated irrigation system, including pivot system which is automated.
This was said yesterday by the Minister for Agriculture, Mr Hussein Bashe, while briefing President Samia Suluhu Hassan on the progress of the project as part of her working visit in the region.
Dr Samia laid a foundation stone for the project, which the government has allocated 6.2bn/- for completion of its first phase.
Mr Bashe said the total area of the project is about 1,100 hectares, with 140 hectares of water catchment area, 97 hectares of the dam reserved area and about 860 hectares for farming.
He said so far, the project execution is at its first phase involving 400 hectares, whereby seven pivots will be built.
Irrigation pivot system is a mechanised and pressurised water irrigation method.
Mr Bashe said the country’s seeds demand currently stands at 120,000 tonnes but the country production capacity is 40,000 tonnes, while imported seeds amount to 60,000 tonnes. This means the deficit stands at 20,000 tonnes.
“We expect by 2025 to meet 75 per cent of total seeds demand and 100 per cent by 2030,” he said.
He said the Samia Block Farm will be used for production of seeds throughout the year accompanying other schemes of the same kind, including another one in Arumeru District, Arusha Region.
Minister Bashe said further that the government will construct a factory for processing of seeds produced at the farm and supply them to farmers to help them increase their yields.
Mr Bashe said for the country to realise seed self-sufficient, 300,000 hectares of land is needed. He said as of today, the country has 34,000 hectares, from which the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TIRA) and the Agricultural Seed Agency (ASA) have 17,000 hectares each.
He directed Regional Commissioners (RCs) to allocate other areas that are suitable for establishment of irrigation schemes for the country to beat the set benchmark of seed self-sufficient by 2030.
Additionally, he said the irrigation scheme in Nzega is implemented by a local based company known as Pro Agro Global in ensuring the country’s strategic farming projects act as a platform for sharpening skills and creating jobs to citizens.