High hopes as Agric budget approved 

AGRICULTURE stakeholders and economist have expressed satisfaction with the increase of the ministry’s budget expressing high expectaions from the financial boost.

They told the ‘Daily News’ that the increase in the budget estimates for the ministry was a sign of good things to come as more challenges will be tackled.

Commenting on the budget for the Ministry in Dodoma, yesterday before the legislators approved it, Tanzania Sisal Board (TSB) Director General, Saddy Kambona said that in the 2023/2024 financial year, they eye to receive 2bn/-which will enable them to install a processing plant.

He noted that, through the financial boost, TSB will be better positioned to start block farms, maintaining that the money accrued from their operations will also enable them to come up with more plants.

“Just like the processing plant, having equipment to start block farms means that in the near future we will be able to start more because we will no longer rely on handouts from the government, since we will be able to stand on our own feet financially,” he said.

The DG also indicated that in the 2022/2023 budget, TSB also received 2bn/- which enable them to supply seeds to their farmers free of charge, conduct monitoring and evaluation and purchase vehicles because they had a serious shortage.

Mr Kambona said that with this budget, they will manage to implement the government directive of increasing sisal production from the current 36,000 tonnes to 120,000 tonnes by 2025, adding that since they received the directive from Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa three years ago, they have increased 12,000 tonnes making the total production to be 48,000 tonnes.

He said with 60,000 hectares of sisal ready to be harvested and a processing plant in place will mean increase in production, because no farmer will have to wait for a long time for their sisal to be processed.

On his part, Kahama Cooperative Union (KACU) Chairman Hamis Majogoro, observed that the increase in the agriculture ministry’s budget means that President Samia Suluhu Hassan has the interest of farmers in her heart.

He said that the budget carries high hopes for the country’s farmers because it will help to lift local farmers to another level and increase their financial muscle.

Mr Majogoro said that by giving subsidies on farm implements production will increase. And, since it is a long-term process, it will help to revolutionize the sector.

“With this increase, it means that as representatives of local farmers we have the strength to face them and assure them that with the current budget, things are going to be okay,” he said.

The Board Chairman of Tandahimba Newala Cooperative Union Limited (TANECU) Karimu Chipola, said that the government has decided to bring major changes in the sector, which will increase revenue in various areas.

He said that it comes as great news to cashew nut farmers because it means that they have a guarantee of receiving modern farming inputs from the government and boost production.

“To increase the quality of any product you have to increase the quality of farmers, as a union which oversees the welfare of Tandahimba and Newala cashew nut farmers, we are planning to put up a processing plant so that we stop the habit of selling raw produce to increase the value of our products,” he said.

For the 2023/2024, budget estimates for the Ministry of Agriculture have increased from 751,123,280,000/- to 970,785,619,000/-, which is an increase of 29.24 percent.

On the other hand, a seasoned economists-cum-banker, Dr Hildebrand Shayo indicated that this year’s budget unquestionably is an ambition one that if funded as planned, it will have a huge implication to Tanzania.

As Minister Hussein Bashe parades his mega plan to spur development in agriculture, he said it is important always to remember that the sector remains a significant thrust of Tanzania economic growth.

“With this budget plan the sector is going to strongly contribute more to the national gross domestic product (GDP). This will mean more people will get employed through the value chain and by our last national census these are women and youth.

“Compared to last year’s budget this is a big step, allocation that is away above the Malabo declaration’s recommendations that require African nations to allocate at least 10 percent of its government budget on agriculture,” stated Dr Shayo.

He added: “This year’s budget of slightly 29.24 percent is going to positively impact to the sector’s ability to deliver services equipment, and infrastructure among others.”

Dr Shayo was of the view that towards 2030, if all goes as planned, contribution of agriculture to the government revenue collection will improve significantly. Revenue from this sector will complement other several sources that ranges from tax and non-tax revenue, grant, loans and local government authorities’ own sources.

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