Serengeti — EXTENSION officers in Serengeti District, Mara Region who steal subsidised fertilisers and seeds will be dealt with accordingly.
The acting Serengeti District Commissioner, Mr Joseph Mirumba, issued a strong warning, insisting that farming activities in the district was going down due to such corrupt servants. "Bunda District has al- ready suspended three workers including one head of department.
We shall not tolerate fertiliser and seed theft in Serengeti," Mr Mirumba said when addressing a council meeting here recently. He stressed that the gov- ernment has subsidised fertilisers and seeds to enable farmers improve food production as well as boost people's income.
The fourth phase govern- ment has been injecting bil- lions of shillings to subsidise fertiliser and seed prices, but there are reports that some people violate the law and use the inputs for their own economic gain.
The government is aware of the scam and has already started to ensure that farmers get their allocation. The District Commission- er also directed extension officers to move from offices and visit farmers in rural areas, to supervise farming activities, a move that he said would help to boost production. "Every official must exercise his or her duties.
We should put agriculture first. I am joking on this mat- ter," the DC warned at the packed meeting attended by councillors, local leaders and government experts working in Serengeti District. The meeting was chaired by Serengeti District Council Chairman, Mr John Ng'oina, who called on area councillors to cooperate with government experts, to speed up people's social and economic development.
According to DC Mirumbe, Mara Region has been selected to be one of key cot- ton seeds producing zones in the Lake Region. Majority of Serengeti and Bunda farmers rely on cot- ton as the major cash crop.
Arabica coffee is the major cash crop in the neighbouring Tarime District. Most areas of Tarime District have suitable climate and soil for coffee cultivation and such places remain lead- ing coffee producers in Mara Region.
The Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB) and Tanzania Coffee Research Institute (TaCRI) have in the recent years been taking significant steps meant to revive coffee sector in the lake zone, with Tarime being one of key tar- get areas. The measures include introduction of new coffee varieties that produce high yield and also prone to diseases such as coffee berry diseases.
TCB is also planning to transform Tarime into a cof- fee processing zone, according to TCB Director General Eng. Adolph Kumburu.