THE Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Kilimanjaro Region has increased from 714.7m/- in 2005 to 1.4bn/- in 2012 while average per capita income has reached 881,884/- from 497,788/- over the same period.
Reviewing the regional achievements attained over the last 50 years, the Regional Commissioner, Mr Leonidas Gama, said the current per capita income in the region was above the national average of 770,464/-. On 2011/12 food production, the RC said the region was facing a shortage of 59,333 tonnes of starch and 5,771 tonnes of protein.
The region requires 453,631 tonnes of starch and 45,363 tonnes of protein to feed an estimated population of 1,667,240 people, according to 2011 statistics. He said the low production was caused by drought following abrupt stoppage of long rains.
The rains ceased when food crops had reached maturing stage. The poor yield triggered a hike of food prices with a sack of maize sold at between 60,000/- and 70,000/-. Mr Gama said the region harvested 927,910 tonnes of various cash and food crops last season which was 47.9 per cent of the projected 1,888,643 tonnes. He advised farmers to use the available food carefully to avert possible shortages.
"To avert re-occurrence of food shortages the region has urged farmers to cultivate sorghum, which is drought resistant, in lower areas of the region which are hard hit by drought, season in season out", the RC has revealed.
He also urged people to conserve the environment by stopping wanton tree felling and engage themselves in tree planting for better rains hence improved agriculture which is mostly rain-fed. The RC said farmers will be educated on rain harvesting technology for domestic use and for irrigation which should now be regarded as the region's priority.