THE Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (Policy, Parliament and Coordination) Jenista Mhagama has called upon Zanzibaris to utilise opportunities available in agricultural sector following major reforms undertaken by the government to improve the sector.
She said the Isles government has continued to continue to create an enabling environment to promote agriculture by implementing strategic reforms including pumping in more funds for investments.
“Make the best use of the opportunities,” Ms Mhagama said when she officiated the closing of the 2023 Nanenane Exhibitions at Kizimbani in Dole, Unguja West A District.
Ms Mhagama urged young people to engage in farming because it pays.
She said the Isles government has been increasing the budget for the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, Natural resources and Livestock from 53.590bn/- in 2022/2023 to 98.716bn/- in 2023/2024 financial year an indication that the government is doing whatever possible to improve agriculture.
She pointed out that the efforts are backed by President Mwinyi’s positive nod to consider subsidies for agricultural inputs at a discount of 50 percent of their costs.
“These are bold and determined decisions by Dr Mwinyi on agricultural sector and the farmers of Zanzibar. Show appreciation by increasing productivity for home consumption and export.” she said.
Ms Mhagama said all farmers, joined by young people, have the ability achieve food self-sufficiency, since Zanzibar’s government promise for inputs and budget increase, is clear indication that the eight-phase government of the national unity is committed to develop agriculture.
She explained that the agricultural sector currently employs approximately 40 percent of the people in Zanzibar and more than 70 percent of the people depend on the sector for their livelihood.
Speaking about this year’s theme for Nanenane Farmers Day, ‘Young women are the solid foundation of a sustainable food system’, Minister Jenista said it shows young people’s role in agriculture to guarantee food security is important.
She said the major reforms in agricultural sector have led to increasing production and income for farmers, the national income, and a contribution to strengthening the health of the people including young men and women.
“Reforms in agriculture require young people, so it is my hope that youths will use the opportunities through the blue economy and green revolution to take part in sustainable development. Africa has been gifted with many young people of whom about 60 percent of them are under the age of 25 and about 12 million young people can provide reliable labor in agriculture every year,” she argues.
She said that in Tanzania, including Zanzibar, the average age of young people is 18 years, which means that Tanzania is also a nation of young people, a huge manpower to produce additional food and sell it abroad.
“Tanzania has good land to produce food and commercial crops. Let us use our experts to produce more as emphasized by both union President Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan and Dr Mwinyi,” she said that young people and women have a great contribution in achieving the goal.
Zanzibar’s Minister for Agriculture, Irrigation, Natural Resources and Livestock, Mr Shamata Shame Khamis, commended Dr Mwinyi for his commitment to develop agriculture while the Ministry’s Principal Secretary Mr Seif Shaaban, said that the fifth Zanzibar’s Nanenane exhibition was a success because of the big turn-up of people and also exhibitors.
He also commended President Mwinyi for giving farmers’ rice seeds last year, 88 tonnes of rice seeds worth 227m/- to farmers which were distributed in Unguja and Pemba.
He said that rice production is expected to increase from 27,000 tonnes to 50,000 tonnes this year, for the rice being produced at Kinyasini, Cheju, Mlemele and the old valleys of Mtwango, Mchangani, Kibondemzungu and other valleys Unguja and Pemba.