11 April 2014

Tanzania: Govt Pushes to Improve Rice Productivity

AS part of realizing the Big Results Now (BRN) initiative in the agriculture sector, the government plans to promote 25 commercial farming deals and enhance 78 smallholder rice irrigation schemes countrywide.

Gracing the 1st Agritech conference with the theme; "Leverage technology in agriculture transformation," the Minister for Livestock and Fisheries Development, Dr Titus Kamani, said the State will also develop 275 collective maize warehouses linking farmers to the market.

Agriculture is among six sectors of the economy that have been earmarked for the BRN which aims at accelerating the country to middle-income economy by the year 2025.

In the sector, the country looks forward to attain specific targets in increasing production and productivity of rice, maize and sugar, which are critical in addressing food insecurity and growth in the country.

"To accelerate agricultural development and rural transformation in Tanzania, a number of initiatives have been implemented in collaboration between local and international private sector, the government and development partners," Dr Kamani noted.

Through the Kilimo Kwanza (Agriculture First), Dr Kamani said the government aims at strengthening the capacity of the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) to buy and store sufficient grains consistent with national food requirements.

"Establishing and reviving agro-processing industries with private sector participation and improving access to credit by setting up the special window for agriculture at the TIB Development Bank are among initiatives that have been taken to improve the sector," the minister noted.

Adding; "The natural resources that we are endowed with are abundant, and much of the arable land is yet to be utilized.

It is my hope that this conference opens doors to local and international investors as well as the young generation will transform the agriculture sector."

He was also optimistic that the young generation and graduates in technology and innovation have the capability to transform agriculture as a key sector and the source of means of sustainable livelihoods, business opportunity and entrepreneurship with global perspective.

Agriculture is a key driver of social and economic development in Tanzania contributing to about 26.8 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) and 33.9 per cent of the country's export earnings.

It employs about 80 per cent of the population and contributes to about 95 per cent of national food requirements.

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