‘Heighten efforts to make Tanzania food basket for Africa’

DODOMA: EXTENSION Officers in the country have been asked to intensify advisory services so as to realise the government’s quest to make Tanzania a food sufficient nation and achieve its goal of becoming Africa’s food basket.

The call was made in Dodoma yesterday by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development, Professor Riziki Shemdoe during the 2023 Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Conference of the Tanzania Society of Agricultural Education and Extension (TSAEE).

Officiating the opening of a two-day session that ends today, Prof Shemdoe called for efficient extension services in the productive sectors of agriculture, fisheries and livestock.

According to him, the three key sectors were important in the contribution of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), insisting: “Our country is currently making every effort and plan to transform her economy into a middle-income status and these three sectors are paramount, therefore, without reliable extension services productivity shall always remain low.’’

Extension officers in the country are among others, responsible for advising farmers, agricultural businesses, rural industries, government and other development partners on appropriate practices for agricultural production, processing and distribution of farm produce.

Prof Shemdoe underscored the need for improved agricultural techniques suitable for best production, as he equally reminded extension officers of their obligation to visit farmers and provide the best agricultural advisory services.

He further touted the need for extension officers to help realize the dream by the sixth phase government to make Tanzania a food sufficient nation and a food basket that will be able to feed the continent and the world at large.

In March this year when officiating the Africa Food System Forum 2023 (AGRF), President Samia Suluhu Hassan detailed steps Tanzania takes to ensure there is food sufficiency and achieve its goal of becoming Africa’s food basket.

President Samia said: “We have made investments in research, opened up new markets for food crops internationally, built irrigation infrastructure that considers climate change, and created an integrated environment for the private sector to participate in the value chain in agriculture and reduce crop loss.”

At the AGM yesterday, the Chairperson of TSAEE, Professor Catherine Msuya said that the conference had brought youth and women to look at the best ways in intensifying extension services in the country.

Prof Msuya who doubles as a senior Lecturer at the Department of Agricultural Extension and Community Development of Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) paid tribute to the government for the collaboration nit has been availing to TSAEE.

This year’s AGM and Conference of TSAEE is conducted under the theme: ‘The Role of Agricultural Extension in Enhancing Gender Responsive Climate Smart Agriculture for Transformation of Agri-food Systems in Tanzania.

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