Govt lauded on food production rise

DAR ES SALAAM: MINISTRY for Agriculture has said the level of food production is rising as a result of investments made by the Sixth Phase Government in agricultural production areas.

Agriculture Minister Hussein Bashe revealed this on Saturday in Dar es Salaam during his discussion on the sector’s difficulties as well as the accomplishments over the three years of the Sixth Phase Government dubbed “Mitatu ya Samia Shambani”. “130 per cent food production is our target as set forth in the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) Manifesto. We are currently at 124 per cent. Additionally, we are producing more now,” he said.

He also reminded farmers that many East African nations will have a low harvest this season, so they should exercise patience while selling their produce after harvest. According to him, President Samia Suluhu Hassan used public funds to subsidise production activities after taking office on March 19, 2021.

“She increased the budget from 290bn/- for the first time to 750bn/- in the third year, which we are continuing with the budget reached 970bn/-, and we expect that for the next year the budget for the agricultural sector can reach 1trn/-,” he noted.

He claimed that turning agriculture into a business was one of the major accomplishments of the previous three years. “There was a loud cry at that time. When a farmer used to farm with his family, the crops he harvested immediately became public property. Every official in the government tampers with the crops of the farmers.

President Samia Suluhu said, ‘NO The farmer should cultivate, harvest and sell where he pleases; this is a business,” Bashe clarified.

He said the ministry’s present objective involves the nation becoming selfsufficient in food and providing commercial feeding for others. Furthermore, he noted President Samia has set a target to purchase 10,000 tractors over the course of the next five to six years in order to develop agriculture.

According to him, the tractors would be positioned at locations where farmers can rent them for a nominal fee and use them for cultivation. In order to enhance irrigated agriculture, Bashe further stated that the government is studying the viability of 22 irrigation basins.

Additionally, he stated that the government intends to drill 67,000 wells for small farmers over the course of the next seven years.

These wells will supply a total of 2.5 million irrigated acres, enabling farmers to work in their fields for extended periods of time throughout the year.

The sugar business is performing well, he said, despite its obstacles, as production has climbed from 360,000 to 460,000 tonnes. Sugar Company Limited (KSCL), Mtibwa Sugar in the Morogoro Region, TPC Limited in the Kilimanjaro Region and Kagera are being expanded by the government.

“We also have a big sugar project in Kasulu, a big project in Lake Sugar and a big project in Mbigiri Sugar factory/ Mkulazi. If all these expansion projects are completed, this country will be able to produce 1 million tonnes of sugar within the next year,” Mr Bashe pointed out.

However, the minister noted that the wheat crop has been experiencing difficulties due to importation, which is why the government amended its legal framework and approved new food safety laws and regulations.

“Permits will be granted to the nation’s top importers so they can bring in wheat from overseas after purchasing domestic wheat. Farmers in the nation are already receiving wheat seeds from the government,” he added.

Similarly, Mr Bashe noted that the government has also begun addressing issues facing the tea crop by holding tea expo in Dar es Salaam.

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