Kilimanjaro — AS Tanzania is set to become a regional economic giant having achieved high growth rates, its leaders are keen to ensure that the majority of citizens benefit from the fruits of their labour.
Hai is one of the 169 districts in the country striving to achieve economic growth in a bid to combat poverty among its inhabitants. Hai District Commissioner Mr Novatus Makunga says his area is poised for tremendous transformation if its 210,533 people engage in gainful employment.
"It's high time the district residents translate current opportunities into wealth by fighting poverty," he says. "The first stage of development is for one to be dissatisfied with the poor state of his or her life.
People should to cultivate the desire for progress. The second stage is for one to work hard," he adds. "Stage three is for evaluating one's ability in terms of funds and other assets to improve living conditions."
Mr Makunga says it is evident that those who followed these steps successfully are now enjoying better lives. "We started this programme of fighting poverty on October last year, and there is no village which will not be reached.
We are very close to the villagers as we came out with a slogan: "Famine and Poverty to be History in Hai". There is success in the programme's implementation as it is to be seen in Kawaya, Roo, Mungushi and Mulama villages," he explains.
As the country prepares to mark Farmers' Day (Nanenane), Mr Makunga says problems besetting such sectors, as agriculture and livestock keeping would be solved.
In so doing, the District Commission has visited several institutions just to mobilise support in boosting the economic development of the area.
'Umoja' and 'Upendo' are two of such field schools and demonstration plots in the district where Mr Makunga has visited. He says going by field classes, they have successfully bridged the technological gap in agriculture and that many farmers are in productive farming.
In banana farming, farmers now prefer plants that could produce 1,350 bunches of banana within 12 months and earn a farmer 13.5m/- per year.
"We work very closely with the farmers and make banana seedlings available for them. I am also happy that cassava farming is gaining ground in the district," he says.
He is also happy on the way people have responded to a call to cultivate sweet potatoes and livestock fodder. Tanzania Social Action Fund (TASAF) is focusing on the poor and vulnerable households in fighting poverty. Villagers receive safety net support and have opportunity to participate in livelihood enhancing activities.
Mr Makunga says it is up to Hai residents to be creative and come up with different development projects. Already 1,283 poor households have been identified in 11 villages of the district as the programme is geared towards a third phase of its implementation.
Last month witnessed village general meetings that discussed the economic situations of such families and came up with names of the beneficiaries.
The poor households will be supported in the project by being provided with different development grants depending on one's needs and abilities.
TASAF national facilitator, Naftaly Joshua Naftaly says the families will be helped to enable them become self-reliant. TASAF district coordinator, Mr Mathew Ntigwigwa, says he is upbeat that the programme will help the families rid themselves of poverty.
A monitoring officer, Nisalile Mwaipasi, says if those below the poverty level will be attentive, they will understand the programme and implement it well. Hai District Executive Director (DED), Mr Melkizedeck Humbe says the programme will ultimately enable all people, especially the Maasai community, send their children to school.
The investment Policy encourages Private investors to proactively get engaged individually, through joint ventures and through Public- Private Partnership (PPP).
In Hai, farmers are also trained on new agricultural technologies through demonstration plots, farmer's field days and other extension methods.
It is also the duty of the department to supervise the implementation of agricultural projects under the District Agricultural Development Plans (DADPs) funded by the Agricultural Sector Development Programme.