FARM productivity under irrigated valleys has increased from eight to 11 tonnes per hectre in a year, according to this year’s production analysis, the House of Representatives was told here yesterday.
Agriculture, Irrigation, Natural Resources and Livestock Minister Mr Shamata Shaame Khamis informed the house however that production at rain reliant farms remains low at 1.5 tonnes per hectre, annually.
Answering a question by Mwanakwerekwe Representative Ameir Abdalla Ameir who wanted to know comparison between irrigation and rain agricultural production, the minister argued that the analysis shows that farmers need irrigation infrastructure to boost their production.
Minister Shamata said the ministry always conducts analyses to ensure farmers adhere to regulations and advises by agricultural experts. The analyses focus on harvests and cultivated area under irrigation and rain fed.
He said limited irrigation infrastructure condemns majority islanders to rain fed farming, which is less productive. Although the country’s master irrigation plan identifies 8,500 hectres, which are suitable for irrigation, hardly 23 per cent of the land–1,928 hectres with developed infrastructure are under use by 14,000 farmers in Unguja and Pemba.