ZANZIBAR President Ali Mohamed Shein (pictured) yesterday opened a week-long agricultural show here with a call on residents to work harder for sufficient food production and nutrition to enhance political freedom and self-reliance.
"We are happy people; particularly farmers have been doing their best in food production. But we need to produce more and sustain it because it is fundamental for our independence and standing on our own," he said in his address at Chamanangwe, Wete in north Pemba.
The event was organised to mark the 'World Food Day (WFD)', celebrated every year around the world on 16 October in honour of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the U nited Nations in 1945.
This year's celebration is being observed under the theme "Our actions are our future. A # zero hunger World by 2030 is possible".
Dr Shein emphasized at the gathering which included senior government officers led by the Second Vice President Ambassador Seif Ali Iddi that only through 'sustainable good farming for Food, Nutrition and Livelihood Security,' the country can move forward without heavy dependence on support from outside.
He said the government fully supports such events (farming shows) because it has been emphasised in the national poverty reduction strategy (MKU ZA III), political party-Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) 2015/2020 manifesto and other government development strategies.
Many booths have been allocated for corporate sponsors, stakeholders, farmers, fishers and government bodies to showcase, display and inform the people of their services, products at the six-day event climaxing next Tuesday.
He said the government has been overcoming some of the challenges facing the agriculture industry by allocating about 63bn/- for farming development- mainly crops production, livestock, processing and infrastructure development.
The President said about 193 hectares are being used under the 'Expanding Rice Production Project (ERPP)', while the government borrowed 50 million U S dollars from South Korea Exim Bank for rice Irrigation on 1,524 hectares.
He said Zanzibar has also spend more than 254m/- to construct a food granary with the capacity to store about six thousand tonnes of rice. The granary is expected to be opened in 2019/2020 financial year.
According to the Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources, Livestock and fisheries, Mr Rashid Ali Juma the government is fully committed to increase food production by supporting farmers in the Islands.
Mr Mwatima Abdalla Juma who spoke on behalf of Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) promised that her organisations will continue supporting Zanzibar's initiatives in food production.