Dar es Salaam — In a bid to boost Kilimo Kwanza initiative, the government of India has given a $40m loan to Tanzania to purchase tractors that will be used to up the scheme.
The Kilimo Kwanza initiative which was designed to promote agricultural development in the country has so far not shown much progress since it started in August 2009.
According to the agreement between the two states, the money will be used to purchase 1846 tractors which will be channeled to small scale farmers for a reasonable price.
"For the first phase, these tractors will be sold to small farmers at a reasonable price in a move which would work to boost their agricultural outputs," the Suma JKT's Marketing Officer, Lt Tumaini Mwang'onda said.
A recent study by Agriculture Council of Tanzania shows that at the moment about 70% of Tanzania's total crop area is cultivated by hand hoe, 20% by oxen plough and only 10% by tractor.
Due to this, Mwang'onda said the country needs at least 20,000 working tractors to achieve the goals of agricultural initiative, 'Kilimo Kwanza'. According to Minister for Agriculture, Eng Christopher Chiza, the government is in the process to ordering 3,000 more tractors to support the country agricultural initiative.
"These tractors will be after the sale of 1,846 units acquired trough a bond from India in the first phase," he said.
Lt Mwang'onda said all the 1,846 tractors that were bought by the government have been sold off after the army wing reduced the unit sale price making the tractors affordable to more farmers.
"The farmers' response has been positive after reducing the price, the bulk importer of Indian tractors was charging between Tsh25m ($15,640) and Tsh45m ($28,152) per farm track tractor," he added.