Lindi — THE country utilizes only 1.6 per cent of the land which is suitable for irrigation farming, it has been revealed.
The Acting Director of Irrigation and Technical Service Department, Mr Seth Lusweme told the 'Daily News' that the situation needed immediate action as depending on rains to carry out agricultural activities could not help reform the sector.
He pointed out that due to the fact that irrigation farming was crucial in boosting production, the government has formed the National Irrigation Commission which will assume the functions that were being implemented under Irrigation and Technical Service Department in the Agriculture, Food and Cooperatives Ministry.
Mr Lusweme noted that the Commission which is set to take off any time from now will operate autonomously to develop and create good policies to develop irrigation farming in the country.
He observed that in Tanzania there is about 29.4 million hectares of land suitable for irrigation farming but it was upsetting seeing that only 461,326 hectares of land being utilised.
He explained that according to their findings 2.3 million hectares of land has high potential of supporting irrigation farming while 4.8 million hectares could partially support irrigation and the remaining 22.3 hectares of land has low possibility of enabling irrigating farming.
He noted that private sectors' participation in the irrigation farming was very minimal as only 70,000 hectares of land was being utilised by the sector, one of the reasons for such poor participation being linked with difficulty in land acquisition.
Mr Lusweme stated that irrigation farming was highly practiced in Mbeya region followed by Kilimanjaro and Arusha while regions with high irrigation potentials include Morogoro, Kilimanjaro and all regions in the lake zone.
He observed that through Big Results Now (BRN) some 25 farms have been identified and the department is currently conducting a survey to determine how they can be developed. These farms are located in Coast, Morogoro, Mara, Mtwara, Iringa and Kigoma regions.