DESPITE the fear generated by the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, farmers in Cheju and Kibokwa paddy fields in Unguja have continued with farming activities, winning praise from the public and leaders.
Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Natural Resources, Livestock and Fisheries, Dr Makame Ali Ussi, praised them recently, saying their courage was worth emulating provided each individual took precautionary measures.
"You are doing a good job, continue working in your fields as you observe health precautions against the deadly coronavirus. Let us join forces to defeat it," Dr Makame Ali Ussi remarked when he toured their farms.
He said the country must have enough food for the people and a surplus for export.
Rice is considered as staple food in many parts of the world where it is consumed regularly as the main source of calories and to meet the nutritional needs of millions of people every day.
More than 3.5 billion people depend on rice for more than 20 per cent of their daily calories.
Rice is also Zanzibar's staple food but it produces less than 40 per cent of the annual demand as the government, with support from development partners, struggles to increase production through irrigation farming.
Mr Mzee Ibrahim, one of the farmers, remarked: "We are determined to continue farming, but we are worried about the threats generated by coronavirus. Fortunately, we are taking health precautions."