Minister: Supervise Extension Officers in fields

MINISTER for Agriculture Mr Hussein Bashe has instructed local government authorities to supervise Agriculture Extension Officers by ensuring that they deliver and improve productivity in the sector.

The minister further asked them to set performance targets for the officers and set up a coordinated plan to ensure sustainable output from them is tracked.

Mr Bashe issued the instructions during his two days working tour in Rukwa Region recently, where he further said: “We want to register maximum output from the agriculture Extension Officers as the sixth phase administration has provided them with requisite working tools and facilities such as motorcycles.”

In April last year, President Samia Suluhu Hassan handed over various equipment, including motorcycles to Extension Officers with the aim of transforming the agriculture sector and subsequently increase contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“Agriculture Extension Officers must embark on field tour rather than staying in the offices, because our farmers in the fields need to be educated and provided with relevant knowledge throughout the year,” stressed the minister.

In the same vein, he noted that the country has sufficient food reserves to meet local current demand, adding that the government will not close the borders to block farmers from exporting their maize and other cash and food crops.

“Let farmers enjoy fruits of their hard labours … I can assure Tanzanians that the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) has bought enough stock of maize that will be sold at retail prices, when there is a demand,” said Mr Bashe.

Meanwhile, Mr Bashe said that he will not hesitate to revoke the licence of any company that will dare tamper with subsidy fertiliser scheme.

In August last year President Samia launched the fertiliser subsidy scheme to lower prices at the farm -gate level.

Under the scheme, price for DAP fertiliser has gone down to 70,000/- from the market price of 136,135/-, the Urea dropped from 124,714/- to 70,000/- the CAN went down from 108,156/- to 70,000/- and SA slipped to 50,000/- from 87,872/-.

The NPK is available to farmers at the cost of 70,000/- against the market price of 122,695/-.

A study by Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) shows that the usage of fertiliser in Tanzania is about 13.8 kg per ha much lower than the  target set by the African Union in the Abuja declaration of at least 50 kg per ha (FAOSTAT,2018).

Equally, the aforementioned study points that the reasons for low usage is due to limited awareness of the benefit of fertiliser among many farming communities in the country and price that is beyond what farmers can afford.

Fertiliser consumption in Tanzania is rising but it remains below Africa’s average.

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