SMILES AS MAGUFULI’S SPEECH CENTRES ON FARMERS’ DEVELOPMENT

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AfricaPress-Tanzania: PRESIDENT John Magufuli’s parliament inaugural speech on Friday marked a new dawn for farmers in the country by highlighting key issues that aim at improving the sector.

He told the 12th Parliament that his government will focus on enabling practices, which guarantee profit to the sector by ensuring food security in the country and production of raw materials enough for local industries and ensure there is surplus food for export.

Dr Magufuli said horticulture farming will be one of potential areas for the government to focus on, and ensure that it attracts and generates foreign currency for the country.

According to available statistics, the sector has been growing tremendously from 2015 with revenues increasing from 412 million US dollar to 779 million US dollar in 2019.

He said Tanzania exports flowers, vegetables and many other perishable goods.

“In the coming five years, the government is set to purchase additional five new aircrafts, including one for cargo shipment. The cargo flight will stimulate business related to high-value horticulture products, frozen meat, fish fillet, sea food and other perishables,” he said.

President Magufuli said the government is eyeing tapping several opportunities in the freight business but at the same time, boost horticulture sector in the country.

Elaborating, he noted that in order to strengthen the agricultural sector, the government guarantees expansion of irrigation farming, saying: “The irrigation farming infrastructure will be increasing from 561,383 hectares to 1,200,000 hectares by 2025. “We are looking forward to improving the irrigation farming in the country with the purpose of boosting the sector. The government’s focus is to make sure agriculture contributes largely to the country’s economic growth.”

Equally, the head of state noted that the government will also build 208 irrigation schemes, expand and as well renovate water harvesting dams.

In his speech, he said improvement of the sector will go alongside enabling farmers to realise profit in their activities as a result of good farming environment set for them.

He said the government will ensure availability of agriculture inputs such as tractors, fertilisers, insecticides and many others.

“In the coming five years, the government will make sure farmers get required agriculture inputs on time and at affordable prices…. this will help them to produce more crops and benefit from the business,” he noted.

The Head of state also assured farmers that the government will come up with systems that will enable farmers to access capital from financial institutions including banks in the country.

Dr Magufuli said plans are already in place for farmers to access attractive loans and financial support from the Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank (TADB) and other financial institutions with the purpose of developing and opening up the sector.

“We want farmers to practice modern and profitable farming, with TADB and other financial institutions, farmers will be able to seek loans and expand farming activities,” he explained.

Other strategies for boosting the sector included fighting post-harvest loss by building silos and other food storage facilities.

He said in the coming five years, the government is planning to increase silos with the capacity to safely store 501,000 tonnes of food from the current capacity that only preserves 190,000 tonnes.

On the international market, President Magufuli said the government is already engaged in talks with some countries, which consumes cash crops from Tanzania.

“We are in talks with some countries so that we can enter agreements on exporting our cash crops to them. This will ensure market to Tanzanian farmers and bring to them enough profit and the country at large,” he noted.

On strategic crops, President Magufuli said his government is looking forward to putting emphasis on some strategic cash crops with the purpose of improving the sector and boosting both farmers and national economy. He mentioned the crops as cotton, coffee, cashew nuts and palm farming. Others included Cocoa, Sunflower, tobacco, tea and sisal.

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