THE government has reiterated its commitment to investing in irrigation farming to increase crop y ield and create food security in the country , thanks to sup p ort from the Jap an International Coop eration Agency ( J ICA).
According to yesterday' s media rep orts, a joint coordinating stakeholders committee meeting, involv ing the government of Tanzania and J ICA, w as scheduled for Dodoma yesterday to discuss how to go about it.
Since the 1980s, J ICA has been supp orting irrigation develop ment in the country. By 2015 , the government had set aside 46 1,000 acres for irrigation f arming, w hich w as bey ond the National Irrigation Master P lan (2002) target.
The national target is to ensure one million hectares of arable land are under irrigation schemes by 2020. This w as rev ealed in J anuary this y ear during the launch of a p rop osed 15 0-hectare irrigation p roject under Arusha Technical College (ATC) f inanced by J ICA.
We are sure that w ith irrigation farming, Tanzania will make great strides in crop y ield and food security.
This is not mentioning up lif ting f armers' liv elihoods and boosting the Gross Domestic P roduct (GDP) .
In other w ords, adeq uate inv estment in irrigation farming means facilitating the fif th gov ernment's objectiv e of hav ing an industrial and middle income economy by 2025 .
Tanzania's economy dep ends on agriculture, w hich accounts for more than a q uarter of GDP , f or it p rov ides 85 p er cent of ex p orts and emp loy s about 65 p er cent of the w orkforce. Irrigation farming has w orked w ell in many p arts of the w orld and w e are sure it w ill w ork also for Tanzania.
We are for irrigation farming because climate change has to a considerable extent made rain-f ed agriculture unp roductive.
Farmers, w ho dep end on rainw ater are sure of harv esting nothing or too little comp ared to those p ractising irrigation farming. In fact, irrigation farming p lay s a key role in rev olutionising agriculture.
So, it is the right time for the gov ernment to turn to irrigation farming f or this is the only reliable agricultural method that can create food security and up lif t f armers' livelihoods. Since the majority of Tanzanians are f armers, it is imp ortant that they engage in irrigation farming for food and cash crop p roduction.
Thus, w hat w e need is cap acity building not only in terms of technical and financial support, but also in p ublic aw areness.
The more farmers know the imp ortance of engaging in irrigation farming, the more Tanzania w ill be able to p roduce more food and cash crop s, feed its p eop le w ell and be able to sell the surp lus to other countries.
Adequate inv estment in irrigation farming is w hat w ill transform agriculture.