MINISTER for Agriculture Japhet Hasunga has issued an ultimatum to all crop board leaders to submit farmers’ registers by June 30, this year, failure of which disciplinary action will be taken. He gave the ultimatum yesterday when receiving equipment offered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under the Rapid Response Implementation Support to the Ministry of Agriculture (Raris) project.
Mr Hasunga said each board would be availed with one tablet to fast-track the identification and registration of crop farmers countrywide as they want to have a national database for smooth planning. “We want to have databaseso that the government can set appropriate development plans to farmers that will increase efficiency and production ofcrops in the country,” said the minister.
The ultimatum concerned CBT, Tanzania Sisal Board (TSB), Tanzania Cotton Board Tanzania Pyrethrum Board (TPB), the Tanzania Tea Board (TTB), the Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB) and the Tanzania Sugar Board (TSB). Mr Hasunga (pictured) said TTB had been exempted from the deadline likewise the Cereals and Mixed Produce Board (CPB), whose registration logistics were being outlined. “So far, according to reports availed to me, registration is done by 72 per cent (almost 1,274,337 crop farmers) of the expected 1,700,000 crop farmers have been in the registry as of March 31, this year,” he said.
He added that the problem with the agricultural project lied in lack of statistics and at times even officers in the ministry failed to justify how they arrived at the figures. He, therefore, noted that the register would be a good starting point in our plans. He said plans to develop farmers began with the cultivation, harvesting, storage and marketing, noting that available database would improve the government’s speed in addressing farmers’ challenges.
Moreover, he said increasing population in the future land for agriculture would be scarce if the matter was not addressed at present. Furthermore, he noted that time was up for crop insurance to be in place since farmers had been losing their capital and their crops had been affected by natural disasters. For his part, Raris Coordinator Oswald Mashindano urged the government to keep a close eye on the agriculture budget released to ensure the money was spent as intended.