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When shall we fully support agriculture?

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by armanisankara, Aug 17, 2012.

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    armanisankara JF-Expert Member

    Aug 17, 2012
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    By most estimates, agriculture is the biggest and most important employer in Tanzania, accounting for the survival and development of over 80 per cent of the population. The seamy side of an otherwise heartwarming story is however that most first-line players in the sector are small-time subsistence farmers. Thus, mainly because of being heavily dependent on the hoe and other "primitive" tools, they engage in backbreaking drudgery on the tiny pieces of land at their disposal and get little from their sweat and toil.

    The last several decades have witnessed intermittent government and various other interventions aimed at making this crucial sector pay more at less effort, in part by ensuring greater and better use of appropriate inputs. For all practical purposes, though, the bulk of the millions of small-time farmers in the country remain with long distances to cover before they can realise the benefits that really serious investment in agriculture has on offer.

    Fortunately, one does not have to leave Tanzania to have an eye-witness account of these benefits – scores of local and foreign investors have already amply demonstrated that this is no longer science fiction but is being practised with resounding success in several parts of the country. Sadly, on the whole, the farming fraternity has not learned much from such success stories – at least going by the status of most of the agriculture practised in the country.

    Now, Vice President Dr Mohamed Gharib Bilal graced Farmers Day celebrations yesterday with a reminder to the nation that Tanzanians can guarantee themselves sustainable food security if agriculture is effectively supported by science and technology. He underlined the need to transform the country's agriculture into a modern and therefore less energy-sapping but more productive industry, correctly arguing that a nation unable to feed itself is sure to find itself in a crisis of dignity.

    Perhaps even more important and relevant was the VP's declaration that the government would continue to extend to extend to farmers support aimed at empowering them to produce enough food and to spare, including ensuring that every village in the country enjoys the expert services of at least one agricultural extension officer.

    Equally so was a pronouncement by the Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives minister to the effect that the government has not only set aside over 75bn/- for subsidising the cultivation of maize, rice, sorghum, sunflower, tea, cotton and other food and cash crops but would ensure enough local production of fertiliser for the country's needs. But while this genuinely ought to be cause for the farming public to applaud, it is common knowledge that the national agricultural initiative popularly known as Kilimo Kwanza stipulates as much – if not more eloquently – but the nation is yet to lend it the support it so evidently deserves.

    We also know that millions of our farmers are yet to appreciate the advantages of modern agricultural methods, particularly the appropriate use of fertiliser, pesticides and better seed. The bottom line is that we urgently need to sensitise farmers and the larger public on the benefits Kilimo Kwanza promises and, having satisfied ourselves that the message has sunk, fully support the serious implementation of the initiative's objectives.



    KOMBAJR JF-Expert Member

    Aug 17, 2012
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    Tutakapo uza MaV8 yote na kununua Matrekta na pembejeo.