Zanzibar anticipates a threefold increase in rice production under irrigation scheme from 5,400 to 17,332 tons, the House of Representatives was told here on Monday.
Agriculture, Irrigation, Natural Resources and Livestock Minister Shamata Shaame Khamis told the house that the government aims at food independence through good uses of available valleys.
He was answering a question by Mwanakwerekwe Representative Ameir Abdalla Ameir who wanted to know the government strategic plan to use rice valleys for the country's self-reliance in food supply.
Minister Shamata said the revolutionary government prioritises irrigation farming to achieve food security in the country, saying through the 2003 major irrigation plan, six valleys covering 1,053 hectres have been developed. The valleys include Cheju A and Kinyasini with 314 and 184 hectres, respectively.
The minister said Cheju A valley has been developed at 100 per cent, with 2,500 farmers allocated plots for irrigation farming.
But the minister decried high cost and limited financial resources as the main challenge that impede speedy development of the irrigation valleys.
Meanwhile, the government has succeeded to transform peasants into commercial farmers especially in horticulture subsector, the minister informed the house, saying through vegetable and fruit project 19,888 farmers were served.
The beneficiaries were equipped with training on best farming practices, reduction of post-harvest loss and marketing.