ZANZIBAR President Dr Hussein Mwinyi on Tuesday reaffirmed the government’s commitment to support youth and women in agriculture but demanded effective strategies to check diversion of such help to unintended beneficiaries.
“The government is ready to extend agricultural subsidies to support youth and women’s efforts in the field but there is a serious problem of government subsidies skipping the intended beneficiaries and benefiting the unintended people,” Dr Mwinyi said at the opening of agricultural shows, Nane Nane, at Kizimbani grounds here.
He directed the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, Natural Resources and livestock to develop a comprehensive database of youth and women in agriculture to facilitate easy and timely government’s supportive interventions.
President Mwinyi appreciated youth as the country’s critical labour force, saying the government is duty-bound to support their efforts for their own success and development of the nation.
“Through effective use of the youth, the government can guarantee food security in the country; the youth constitute the country’s dependable labour force,” said the president, imploring the youth to use the exhibitions to learn modern farming techniques, including irrigation technologies.
He also ordered the agriculture ministry to identify all the country’s available land for agriculture and put it into efficient use for improved productivity.
“We have limited land but we have to maximise production from what we have,” he said.
Dr Mwinyi also directed each district to focus on one priority crop, which they can produce maximally to boost the country’s agricultural production.
“Each district has a comparative advantage on specific crops; let’s prioritise one crop which we are best at,” he said.
The president asked the Ministry of Infrastructure, Communications and Transport to tarmac all roads within the show grounds before the next gathering as part of efforts to improve the exhibition infrastructure.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Seif Shaaban Mwinyi described the 10-day event as a great success, saying it has attracted 272 exhibitors against the organisers’ 200-exhibitor target.
He said during the event, which has cost 512m/- to organise, there will be a special day for food security today; milk drinking day on August 5; organic farming day on August 7; and horticulture day on August 8.
The ministry’s chief executive decried exorbitant input prices especially on fertilisers; costly exhibition hosting and temporary construction of ways within the grounds as the critical challenges to which he pleaded for the presidential intervention. Fortunately, President Mwinyi responded positively to all the requests.