Agriculture provides a living for around 80% of Tanzanians. The sector accounts for around a quarter of the country’s GDP and about a quarter of all exports. Given Tanzania’s economic structure, it is undeniable that the sector’s growth is directly linked to social progress and poverty reduction.
Members of Parliament have urged the government to increase spending on irrigation, agricultural research, and seed production in order to keep the sector growing.
Several MPs said Monday during a debate on the Prime Minister’s Office’s budget estimates for the fiscal year 2022/2023 that while what has been done so far is commendable, more work is needed to ensure that agriculture contributes more to GDP.
They claimed that the country’s rivers and lakes could be utilized for irrigation, with Bukoba Rural MP Jason Rweiki-za asking for the government to recruit unemployed youth to set up camp farming.
According to him, numerous measures must be implemented in order for the sector to contribute more to the GDP, including the adoption of irrigation schemes where youth can be provided loans by financial services to make it a reality.
The Prime Minister’s Office has asked the National Assembly to approve a budget of 148.8 billion dollars for the coming fiscal year, with 101.3 billion dollars set aside for recurrent expenses and 47.5 billion dollars set aside for development projects.
“Our country is blessed with beautiful and fertile lands, and we have many rivers, so we can easily undertake irrigation agriculture,” he said.
Mr. Rweikiza also gave the government some advice to form a task force that can analyse camp farming where unemployed youths can be provided land, loans, fertiliser and agriculture inputs instead of waiting for government employment.
Space, Science, And Technology Are Areas Of Attention In Research Policy-Prof Sospeter Muhongo
Prof Sospeter Muhongo, MP for Musoma Rural, said Tanzania needs a production plan to ensure it exports the world’s favourite foods to as many countries as possible.
He stated the following: The 12 world’s favourite foods include salad, chicken, cheese, milk, tea, rice, coffee, eggs, apples, yogurt, bread, and soup.
“As a nation, we should have a good policy for Research Development and Innovation.
For example, in 2020 the countries that spent the most money on research compared to their GDPs are Belgium and Sweden.
In African countries in 2006, we adopted that we should spend at least one per cent of our GDP on research even though many countries have not yet arrived there,” he said.
Professor Muhongo stated that space, science, and technology are areas of attention in research policy.
“Whether we want agriculture, tourism, or fisheries, we must invest in these areas, and we must have satellites.”
The Government Should Also Involve The Private Sector In Agriculture- Daniel Sillo
Daniel Sillo, the Babati Rural Member of Parliament, said, “As a result, we must include it in our research and degree programmes.” He added that, farmers should be empowered to do productive farming to enable them to conitribute more to GDP.
“We have a Tanzania Development Vision 2025, and achieving the aims of this vision without investing in agriculture will be a dream,” explained.
He declared: The government should also involve the private sector in agriculture and that investments should be directed at the productive sectors to expand the taxpayer base, increase raw materials in industries, and increase employment.
According to Mr. Sillo, building and developing irrigation infrastructure, establishing special agricultural areas, following the crop map, and improving research to produce the best seeds in the country are some of the things that the government should do.
Targets Should Be Set For District And Regional Commissioners- Munde Tambwe
The government should be serious about agriculture, in order to save a lot of money on importing oil and other commodities from other countries, according to Munde Tambwe (MP for Special Seats).
“Targets should be set for district and regional commissioners to ensure that agriculture improves, such as each district having a block farm and producing agricultural products,” she added.
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