THE Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) has prioritised soil analysis on climate change adaptation and food security in efforts to improve crop yields among farmers in the country.
Acting TARI Director for Research and Innovation, Dr Furaha Mrosso, told the “Daily News’ in an interview that soil analysis is a crucial component that enables farmers to know the types of soil and suitable crops to be produced.
He made the remarks here on Wednesday during the annual review meeting that was attended by researchers from TARI Ukiriguru (Mwanza) and TARI Maruku (Kagera) held in Bukoba Municipal.
“TARI has prioritised soil analysis on climate change adaptation and food security in efforts to improve crop yields among farmers in the country. Soil analysis is a crucial component that enables farmers to know the type of soil and suitable crops to be produced,” he said.
“For many decades farmers in the country have been producing crops on their farms without making soil analysis thus ending up getting meagre incomes from their sweat. Tanzanian farmers in an effort to increase income through agriculture, should use these opportunities that are emerging to cultivate many types of crops so that they can achieve great success through the agricultural sector which employs many people,” Dr Mrosso remarked.
He further said that TARI has about 17 centres across the country, adding that this comes after the government increased the budget for the Ministry of Agriculture, including reducing the price of fertiliSers, its inputs as well as encouraging the private sector to invest and make agriculture start providing decent jobs for young people and women by significantly increasing the budget.
Presenting the budget of the Ministry of Agriculture for the year 2023/2024, the Minister for Agriculture, Mr Hussein Bashe said that the Ministry will continue to design and implement various strategies to ensure the agricultural sector reaches a growth of 10 per cent by the year 2030 and build a solid foundation to protect the country’s economy towards the year 2050.
TARI Maruku Manager, Dr Mpoki Shimwela, on the other hand, has revealed that the government had allocated about 500m/- during 2023/2024 financial year for the construction of a tissue culture laboratory.
“The tissue culture laboratory will cover two major crops namely bananas and coffee, which will in turn greatly benefit farmers who will get improved culture seedlings at reduced price of between 500/- -1,000 compared to the present price of 2,500/- up to 3,000/- for each seedling,” he said.
For many decades, Kagera Region has been identified in the minds of most Tanzanians as a banana –and land of coffee, while the agriculture sector has consistently been dominant in the regional economy.
However, several villages in the region were recently attacked by the Banana disease known as Xanthomonas Wilt (BXW), a move that has made authorities to caution farmers to take necessary precautions, including uprooting the affected banana trees. The outbreak of BXW and other crop diseases has caused panic among the farmers.
In Tanzania bananas production hit a record of 3,407 metric tonnes in the 2018/2019 season. There was minimal growth in comparison to the preceding season, when 3,396 metric tonnes of bananas were produced.