Agro deal signed to enhance irrigation

THE National Irrigation Commission (NIRC), and a private organization, Datta Drip Irrigation (Africa), Company Limited, have signed an agreement under which the two parties would cooperate in promoting irrigation development in the country.

This agreement came into effect at the end of last month to provide a framework for effective collaboration between the parties in establishing irrigation systems and capacity building.

NIRC is mandated by the government to cooperate with the private sector in irrigation development, and to regulate and coordinate irrigation development, promote institutional linkage, capacity building of irrigators and oversee collaboration among the different players in the development of irrigation drainage in Tanzania.

The Commission’s Acting Director General, Marco Ndonde said at the signing ceremony that the other key objectives would be to facilitate collaboration of the development and implementation of irrigation projects, to accelerate development of irrigator organisations through provision of technical support services, to support and sponsor training of irrigators and technicians and to cooperate in media production of programmes aimed at creating awareness of irrigation related activities.

“Collaboration between the two parties may entail such specific areas as technical support and advise, participation in agricultural exhibition and provision of promotional materials, capacity building for irrigator organisations and irrigators and sharing of important information to facilitate smooth implementation of activities defined within the scope of the agreement.

In order to facilitate implementation of the agreement, Datta Drip Irrigation (Africa) Company Limited Director, Yudas Lugenza said his organisation would finance and facilitate the production of promotional materials and finance the participation in the agricultural trade shows.

He said he is experienced and has the capacity and knowledge in dealing with drip irrigation system and greenhouse materials in Tanzania and ready to cooperate with the Commission initiative to build capacity of irrigators with both technology and materials.

The two parties also agreed to jointly design and implement capacity building programmes aimed at facilitating development of irrigator organisations in the country, to coordinate preparation and implementation of advocacy activities aimed at improving the business environment for irrigation development in Tanzania and to conduct monitoring and evaluation of irrigation projects implemented through the agreement.

The use of irrigation practices in Tanzania dates back from the Iron Age and traditional irrigation systems have long been of considerable importance in various parts of the country.

To date, Tanzania has a total irrigation development potential of 29.4 million ha, of which 2.3 million ha are classified as high potential, 4.8 million ha has medium potential; and 22.3 million ha has low potential.

However, out of this potential area, only 468,338 hectares, equivalent to 1.6 percent of the area under irrigation, has been developed and contributes about 24 per cent of the national food requirement as of June 2017.

The current area under irrigation comprises of 2,418 irrigation schemes distributed across the country, of which 124 are fully operational and provided with some basic irrigation infrastructures while the remaining 2,294 comprises incomplete and deteriorated irrigation infrastructure.

Including traditional irrigation schemes characterized with temporary irrigation infrastructure and hence low water and crop productivity.

According to the Five- Year Development Plan, irrigation is required to increase to 1,000,000 hectares by year 2025 through government and development partners’ support.

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