Permanent Secretary Ministry of Agriculture Mr. Gerald Kusaya talking to irrigation engineers from regions of mainland Tanzania today in Morogoro. Secretary General of the Ministry of Agriculture Mr. Gerald Kusaya (right) listening to the Acting Director of the Department of Tools and Irrigation Eng.Anna Mwangamilo (left) when he finished opening the working session of the National Irrigation Commission Management and Irrigation Engineers from mainland Tanzania today in Morogoro.
The Secretary General of the Ministry of Agriculture Mr. Gerald Kusaya in a joint photo with irrigation engineers from all regions of mainland Tanzania today when he opened a two-day meeting to discuss how they can increase the area irrigated from the current 694,715 hectares to 1,000,000 hectares by 2025.
Regional irrigation engineers have been instructed to speed up the process of overseeing and implementing the Fifth Phase Government’s mandate to ensure that the area of irrigated agriculture increases from 694,715 hectares to one million hectares by 2025.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture Gerald Kusaya issued the order today (16.09.2020) when he opened the working session of the Management of the National Irrigation Commission and Irrigation Engineers from the regions of Mainland Tanzania held in Morogoro region.
Kusaya said it was high time for all irrigation engineers in the country to focus on putting in place effective plans so that the irrigated area is now grown and productivity is available to farmers.
“The goal of the Fifth Phase Government in the Irrigation Sector is to ensure that 1,000,000 hectares are reached in irrigated agriculture by 2025 so today you will tell me is the pace we are going with enough?” said Kusaya.
In his opening remarks, the Secretary-General noted that the Ministry of Agriculture wants the Irrigation Commission to focus more on addressing infrastructure challenges so that farmers can produce more crops to enable the country to have food security.
He commended the Irrigation Commission for successfully expanding the area where in the period 2015 to September, 2020 the National Irrigation Commission has successfully constructed and rehabilitated a total of 179 Irrigation schemes and thus successfully increased irrigated area from 461,000 hectares in 2015 to 694,715 hectares in 2020 .
The Secretary-General added that production productivity has increased in irrigation schemes from an average of 1.8 – 2.0 tons per hectare to an average of 4.0 – 5.0 tons per hectare for rice and maize crops production increased from 1.5 tons to 3.7- 5.0 tons per hectare.
“The goal is for irrigated agriculture to be sustainable and to help the farmer have a high income due to the presence of good land and basins suitable for irrigation and the country to be food secure” stressed Kusaya.
Kusaya also instructed the regional irrigation engineers and all staff to be more productive and productive, to work with patriotism, professionalism, hard work, to be creative, to work together as a team in carrying out the Commission’s responsibilities while adhering to service values. Public Service which is the Vision in Achieving the Noble Service and Justice Justice of the President’s motto of “JUST WORK HERE”.
For his part, the Acting Director General of the National Irrigation Commission Eng.David Kaali said they have successfully increased rice production through irrigation schemes from 714,000 tonnes in 2000 to 2,009,174 tonnes in 2019 due to many improved infrastructure.
In addition, he added that the commission has also succeeded in building and rehabilitating 179 irrigation schemes in the country and increasing the capacity of 56 plants working to develop irrigated agriculture in all regions.
To achieve the target of one million hectares by 2025 the Commission will develop the following irrigation basins in the Ruvuma River Basin (26,000), Ruhuhu River (3,700), Songwe River (3,005), Rufiji River (64,896), Luiche Kigoma Basin (3,000) and the Usangu-Mbeya basin (10,000) over the next five years 2021-2025.
Engineer Kaali said that in order for the strategy to increase the irrigation area, the Commission will need 986.8 billion shillings of which the government will contribute 41 percent and the rest will come from irrigation associations, stakeholders and the private sector as stipulated in the Agricultural Sector Development Program Phase II ( ASDP II)
In another step Engineer Kaali has asked the government to give priority to the Commission to be able to find experts to reduce the problem where the need is 646 the existing is 208 and there is a shortage of 438 experts across the country.