Dodoma — LOWER Moshi rice irrigation scheme that for so long has not been operating to its capacity will get a boost as the government announces plans to embark on construction of eight boreholes.
The Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, Adam Malima, informed the National Assembly in Dodoma that two of the eight deep wells have been dug to ensure a reliable water supply.
He named the benefiting villages as Oria and Chekereni in Moshi Rural District and the improvement of infrastructure of an irrigation scheme in the neighbouring Mandaka Mnono and Kaloleni, to make water accessible to the Lower Moshi project.
The deputy minister was responding to a basic question by Betty Machangu (MP Special Seats - CCM) who demanded clarification from the government as to when reliable irrigation schemes would be put in place to increase production and for the people to realize value for money spent on the project.
"Other improvement measures to be taken include construction of rain water reservoirs and building of the right infrastructure to tap water from Kikuletwa River at the approved volume of 3.71 cubic metres per second," Malima explained.
He said the government through Pangani River Valley Water Board, allowed utilization of water from Kikuletwa River at the specified volume to make sure that other stakeholders were not affected in the process. "The government of Japan through JICA conducted feasibility studies for the expansion of the project in terms of increased land for cultivation and availability of water from Kikuletwa River source.
The cost for expansion project was pegged at 61.7bn/- but the experts advised otherwise saying that the economic value of the expansion project was not worth the investment. Lower Moshi Rice Production Scheme was established in 1987 under the support of the government of Japan.
A total of 2,300 hectares were allocated, half with improved infrastructure specifically for rice production and the remaining for other crops. However, the project caused serious inconveniences to residents in villages like Oria, Lowiri, Mwangaria, Kisangesangeni and others who depended on water from Rau River which was blocked to supply water to the project.