Team up with partners to explore farming opportunities, govt urged

THE government has been urged to team up with development stakeholders in creating awareness on various agricultural opportunities available in the sector for the people to reap more.

Facilitating the parallel discussions at the ongoing Northern Zone Gender Festival in Same District, Kilimanjaro Region Training Coordinator Mr Titus Onesmus said most of the farmers are not aware of the opportunities as a result they end up being producers only.

Mr Onesmus, who is from the Same/Mwanga Environmental Conservation Advisory Organisation, said if farmers are well informed about the opportunities they can advance to value addition chain.

The three-day event has been organised by the Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP).  It has brought together various women rights organisations, community based organisations and other grassroots groups to deliberate on how they can utilise available economic opportunities for their development.

Mr Onesmus said that farmers should be made aware of the countless opportunities in agriculture, saying the initiative can be done by local government through extension services.

“The government can also collaborate with Non-Governmental Organisations, Civil Society Organisations which deal with agriculture to make the opportunities known to the public from the production to consumer level,” he said.

He further said that after the opportunities are known, people should also be empowered on how to utilise them, such as how they can access loans and develop small scale industries for processing their produce.

Mr Onesmus said in the 2022/2023 budget the government set aside a total of 954bn/-, for agriculture sector compared to 294bn/- set aside for 2021/2022 financial year.

“Most of the funds have been set aside for  the development of irrigation farming, and crop storage infrastructure, strengthening market availability, research, seed production and provision of subsidies,” he said.

He said irrigation budget  has increased from 46.5bn/-  to 361.5bn/-  in the current fiscal year  while the funds allocated for research have increased from 11.63bn/- to 40.73bn/-.

The National Irrigation Commission has also planned to construct new 25 irrigation schemes to cover 53.234 hectors in the current financial year, he said.

He further detailed that the government will also increase the budget for the construction of warehouse from 2.02bn/- to 25.16bn/- while that of extension services has increased from 11.5bn/- to 15bn/-.

Mr Onesmus said the plan and budget for the Ministry of Agriculture in the current financial year has focused on building strong basis for the growth of the sector at the rate of 10 per cent come 2030. The growth rate of the sector will help to reduce poverty by 50 per cent.

One of the participants Subira Kibiga called upon the government to facilitate land ownership to women so that they can fully participate in agriculture activities.

She said that women are the ones who are engaging in agriculture activities but most of them end up being laborers because they don’t own land.

Ms Kibiga also called upon the government to consider production of better seeds following the impacts of climate change which has affected the agriculture sector.

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