AGRICULTURE as the backbone of the nation is one of the country’s priority sectors of the economy due to its profound importance in terms of food security, employment, exports and its contribution to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Not only that, as Tanzania envisions becoming a middle-income and industrial economy by 2025, agriculture plays a significant role in terms of producing raw materials for industries.
Since the first phase government agriculture has been given priority and farmers have been encouraged to apply modern farming methods (good farming practices) to improve crop production and uplift their livelihoods.
There are notable efforts to transform the sector of agriculture from subsistence into mechanised or commercial agriculture that will enable farmers to produce enough food and sell the surplus.
The government has embarked on the production of improved seed varieties, including the varieties which take a short time to grow and mature and are disease and drought resistant.
Farmers have also been encouraged to engage in irrigation farming due to the fact that with the effects of climate change rain may come too early or too late and may not be enough for ideal crop yield.
With irrigation farming, farmers are sure of growing their crops throughout the year, while rain-fed agriculture depends on the rainy season which in most cases is unreliable.
It is because of this that the government through Minister for Agriculture Japhet Hasunga said in Mbeya Region on Friday that the government planned to transform the sector of agriculture through innovation, investment and agribusiness.
The minister was speaking at an agribusiness expo which brought agribusiness stakeholders. Yes, agricultural transformation is needed for creating food security, job opportunities, exports and its contribution to the country’s GDP.
That is why we see the importance of encouraging our scientists to research on new seed varieties that will put farmers in a good position to decide on seed varieties suitable to their areas.
We say this taking into account the effects of climate change mainly caused by human activities. As World Environment Day 2020 puts it “These are exceptional times, in which nature is sending us a message: To care for ourselves, we must care for nature.”
We too must care for agriculture if we want it to care for us. We have also to protect water sources and the environment in general if we want to make agriculture sustainable not only for us, but also for future generations. So, let us improve our farming methods to transform the sector of agriculture.