Govt vows to heighten irrigation farming

  • Inks 258bn/- irrigation scheme contracts

DODOMA: THE government has pledged to continue bolstering irrigation farming in the country, emphasizing the significant development of irrigation infrastructure.

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa made the remarks here yesterday after witnessing the signing of 20 irrigation scheme contracts worth 258.11bn/- which will be implemented using consultants, local, and foreign contractors. In addition to the projects, the National Irrigation Commission (NIRC), using local experts, will implement four projects worth 16.95bn/- through Force Account.

He said that the government has increased the development budget for the execution of various projects. “The budget has increased by 677 percent to 361.5bn/- in 2023/2024 compared to the 46.5bn/- budget allocated in the 2021/2022 financial year.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate President Samia Suluhu Hassan for allocating a significant amount of funds for the development of irrigation projects in the country,” Majaliwa said.

“As we have witnessed, we have already completed the signing of the contracts for the implementation of all 14 construction projects using contractors worth 248.76bn/-. In addition, there are also six projects for feasibility study and detailed engineering using consultants worth 9.35bn/-,” he said

The PM said four projects worth 16.95bn/- will be implemented using local experts from the NIRC through the Force Account, noting that, upon completion, the projects are expected to bring positive changes in the agriculture sector.

“I am pleased to see that 82 per cent of the contractors who have signed the contracts are locals. I commend the Minister for Agriculture for overseeing this issue.

The government has been prioritizing local contractors to provide them with opportunities and increase employment, skills, and income for locals,” Majaliwa said.

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Other delegates who attended the signing ceremony included ministers, deputy ministers, permanent secretaries, Members of Parliament, heads of institutions under the Ministry of Agriculture, and NIRC staff.

Earlier, THE Minister for Agriculture, Mr Hussein Bashe, said that the signing of the projects covers 129,792 hectares involving construction and design and that upon completion, it will help to add over 300,000 acres to the irrigation network.

The minister further said that his docket is currently focusing on harvesting rainwater by constructing five large dams to store it for long-term use in irrigation agriculture.

For his part, the DirectorGeneral of the Commission, Raymond Mndolwa, said that in the financial years 2022/2023 and 2023/2024, the government approved 361.5bn/- consecutively to implement development projects, including construction, rehabilitation, and feasibility studies for irrigation infrastructure.

“In the 2022/2023 financial year, the commission planned to implement 135 projects, of which 69 were construction and rehabilitation projects and 66 were feasibility studies and detailed engineering.

In the financial year 2023/2024, the commission planned to construct, rehabilitate, and conduct feasibility studies and detailed engineering design for 647 projects,” he said.

“The implementation of irrigation projects takes more than 18 months, so the completion of construction and rehabilitation of infrastructure in these schemes for the two years (2022/2023 and 2023/2024) will increase the irrigated area by 256,185.46 hectares and bring the total irrigated area to 983,465.46 hectares, equivalent to 81.9 percent of the target of reaching 1,200,000 hectares by 2025.

In addition, the increase in the area will create approximately 1,352,127 permanent jobs,” he said. Elaborating on the availability of resources, he said that the commission has successfully procured 48 vehicles for staff, 15 machines, and 17 heavy trucks for supervision, monitoring, and construction of irrigation projects.

“The commission has opened 121 District Irrigation Offices and employed 320 staff to manage the irrigation schemes at the regional and district levels,” he added.

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