DEPUTY Minister for Agriculture, Mr Hussein Bashe has directed the inspection and evaluation of dormant irrigation schemes in Shinyanga Region so that they continue supporting farming activities in the area.
He issued the instructions during his tour and meeting with public servants from different departments, including those from his ministry in the region that has 14 irrigation schemes, but only four are active.
“This should be taken into consideration….just conduct an immediate evaluation to bring them back into operations. Activating these 10 dormant schemes have lots of advantages, including switching Shinyanga farmers to go commercial, hence, improving their livelihoods and contribute in national economic growth,” said the Deputy Minister.
He noted that rice growers will be some of the groups to benefit from full scheme operations and asked them to grab the opportunity and flourishing market in the East Africa bloc.
According to him, some financial institutions have already started issuing them (rice growers) with affordable loans, with reasonable interest rates ( 9.6 per cent), hence, beneficiaries should effectively grab such an opportunities in the East Africa markets.
In a related development, Mr Bashe praised farmers, who have been applying modern farming methods in their farmers, saying: “You will get quality yields and there will be more farm produce once all irrigation schemes are in full time operations.”
Commenting, Shinyanga District Executive Director (DED), Mr Hoja Mahiba, told the Deputy Minister that the farmers had already started to revive one of the dormant irrigation schemes notably in Nyida Ward.
“With all its trenches being constructed ….the government is planning to set up a modern irrigation dam in a few coming days to support their efforts. Not only to benefit the farmers but also to increase the District Councils’ income. “We have enough and fertile land and the government is set to provide them with various support, including provision of farm inputs, as well as looking for the markets,” he pointed out.
According to Mr Mahiba, some 1,068,098 acres of land were available in the region for agriculture activities, but only 795,957 acres, equal to 74.5 per cent were utilised/occupied.
The District Commissioner, Ms Jansita Mboneko assured of immediate revival of the dormant schemes, saying various experts will be involved in the exercise.