Ministry outlines measures to improve extension services

MINISTRY of Agriculture has outlined measures being undertaken to improve extension services in the country for increased productivity and improved farmers’ welfare.

Minister for Agriculture, Mr Hussein Bashe told the National Assembly here yesterday that currently the government has employed 7,000 extension officers in efforts to address farmers’ needs.

He said that to make their work smooth, the government will provide them with tablets so that they can access location of their clients and serve them.

“The gadgets will show the daily routine of every extension officer, how many farmers they have visited and the kind of services provided, so that we can make sure that they execute their work as required for the sector’s development,” he said.

Moreover, the minister said the government plans to distribute 205 tonnes of certified seeds to farmers in this season, calling upon district councils to submit proposals on how to refund the money used for subsidy.

He noted that the seeds are subsidised by 50 percent, as part of the programme to increase sunflower oil production.

Mr Bashe made the statement in response to a question asked by Bunda Urban MP, Robert Maboto (CCM) who had wanted to know what the government was doing to ensure the availability of quality seeds.

The minister said, last year the government provided over 250 tonnes of certified seeds to farmers. He pointed out that farmers in the central zone were the first to   receive subsidised sunflower seeds.

The government recently said it had spent 2.2bn/- to purchase and distribute sunflower seeds with the aim of reducing oil shortages in the country and saving more than 500bn/-  used for importing oil.

The minister said about 1,600 tonnes of quality sunflower seeds have been distributed to Dodoma councils on behalf of all districts in the country.

He said it was the first time the government had distributed seeds that would be sold at a lower price to reach more farmers.

According to him  the demand for seeds in Tanzania is  5,000 tonnes, but the Ministry of Agriculture said in 2021 they succeeded  in delivering 2000 tonnes to farmers, although today they have handed over 1,600 tonnes to the councils.

He said the government was committed to ensuring that by 2021 they no longer import seeds from France, and they had increased training funds for extension officers and farm masters so that they could give better instructions to farmers.

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