Improve Agriculture to Ensure Food Security

Improve Agriculture to Ensure Food Security

TANZANIANS were late last week reassured of food security as President Jakaya Kikwete emphatically declared that no one will die of hunger because the country has enough food to last the next three years.

The president was addressing a rally in Lindi Region at the climax of Agricultural Show commonly known as Nane Nane, where he pointed out that food security rose to 125 per cent in 2014, up from 95 per cent in 2005.

This is good news indeed and Mr Kikwete attributed this trend to the government’s efforts in putting in place strategies aimed at increasing food production for both domestic consumption and exports.

He observed that despite numerous challenges in the agricultural sector, including farmers’ limited access to credit and financial services in general, there are challenges that need to be addressed. These include insufficient supply of agro-inputs such as fertilisers and weed killers.

In the list of challenges are poor roads in some parts of the country, low utilisation of irrigation potential and lack of extension services.

He was optimistic that Tanzania has great potential to become East Africa’s major food basket in the near future, with sufficiency ranging between 300 and 400 per cent.

It is possible to reach the goal by adequate application of fertilisers, shifting from the hand hoe to oxen-pulled ploughs, putting in place better irrigation schemes and use of other more efficient farming machinery.

There are reports that the government would soon import more than 3,000 tractors from Poland and distribute them to farmers throughout the country, a move that will bring to 16,412 the number of tractors in Tanzania.

It is hoped that the newly established Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank (TADB) will boost farmers’ access to financial services including reliable credit facilities.

The government, however, must also enhance investment in agricultural sector as well as mobilising more resources to farming.

Economists forecast that agriculture will for long remain a leading sector of the country’s economy, accounting for about 25 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) and lion’s share exports and employment.

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Source: Tanzania Daily News

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