Zanzibar — FIRST Vice President Seif Sharif Hamad has called on agriculture officials to set up projects to help farmers in villages to produce more from their farms.
Hamad issued the directive to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry officials after his two days visit to departments under the ministry in Pemba and witnessing demonstration class where farmers learned about better farming.
"Experts from the ministry have to help small farmers improve production and quality," the vice president said at Fidel Castro secondary school where small farmers were asked to visit the demonstration class.
He said also that another way of improving agriculture is by involving small farmers in research projects, and that "if provided with the right inputs, practicable technology and relevant information, farmers are capable of transforming traditional agriculture."
Low production in farming is attributed to lack of awareness among small scale farmers, low agricultural inputs; lack of agricultural credit; and marketing. Modern farm inputs needed to raise small farm productivity (include fertilizers, improved variety of seeds and seedlings, and agricultural machinery like tractors).
Zanzibar like in many developing countries, is implementing green revolution dubbed 'Mapinduzi ya Kilimo' aiming at increasing productivity and food security.
Meanwhile Hamad has reiterated calls to restrict use of chainsaw to protect forests, as the recently confiscated 23 chainsaw were destroyed to show that the machines are unwanted in Zanzibar.
Mr Affan Othman Maalim, Principal Secretary (PS)- ministry of agriculture and forestry estimates that there are about 270 chainsaw in the islands, used to cut down about onethousand hectares of forest annually.