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Despite climate change, agricultural sector holds steady

ZANZIBAR’s agricultural production grew by 7.9 per cent, from 375,837 tonnes in 2018 to 404,285 tonnes last year, the House of Representatives heard here on Wednesday evening.

Agriculture, Natural Resources, Livestock and Fisheries Minister, Mmanga Mjengo Mjawiri, moving the portfolio’s 2020/2021 budget estimates, said production of foodstuffs, including cassava, increased by 13.6 per cent to 177,299 from 156,077 tonnes over the period under review.

Banana production rose by 25.2 per cent from 52,189 to 65,321.21 tonnes, while sweet potatoes’ increased slightly, from 52,582 to 53,996.25 tonnes over the period, the minister said.

He attributed the general production increase in cassava, sweet potatoes, banana, maize and vegetables to favorable climatic conditions, increased morale by peasants to observe expert advices, technological advancement and more use of inputs, especially fertilizers, pesticides and high quality seeds.

However, paddy production decreased by 2.2 per cent, from 47,507.1 to 46,472 tonnes, while production of vegetables and fruits also dropped by 18 per cent to 43,080 from 52,667 tonnes over the period.

The minister blamed the production decline to the effects of climate change, which led to heavy downpours—reaching 868mm.

Clove production almost tripled from 675 tonnes in 2018 to 1,691 tonnes last year, according to the minister, with seaweed production dropping by seven per cent, from 10,424.9 to 9,663.2 tonnes over the period.

“The ministry continues motivating (clove and seaweed) growers to increase productivity by supplying them with high quality clove seedlings as well as providing seaweed growers with farming equipment,” the minister told the house.

He said the agricultural ministry and its trade counterpart have embarked on research of new and highly productive seaweed variety—Glacelaria—to promote production of the cash crop.

The livestock sub-sector’s contribution to the national income increased to 7.8 from 6.1 per cent over the period, thanks to increased beef, goat and chicken production.

During the period, Zanzibar produced 11,937,050 eggs and 4,641,258 litres of milk, the minister said, adding that fish production increased by four per cent to 36,728 tonnes from 35,441.

THE government, through the Office of Solicitor General, ...

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Author: MASATO MASATO

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