Dar es Salaam. The African Relief Organisation is investing Sh3 billion on the first phase of its irrigation project on the Rufiji Basin, the company announced yesterday.
The organisation is discussing with the Rufiji Basin Development Authority (Rubada) to implement the project which is scheduled to start this farming season, according to the chairman for the organisation’s board of trustees, Sheikh Abdallah Ndauga.
The amount to be injected into the project includes costs for the construction of 1.5 kilometres of irrigation infrastructure through which water will flow from the river basin to the project area.
The entire project covers an area of 2,500 hectares at Chumbi C Village in Rufiji district. According to Sheikh Ndauga, actual development will be conducted into phases of which the first one will involve normal cultivation on 200 hectares.
“The second phase, which will involve actual irrigation, will only become operational when Rubada finally approves the project,” he said. Ninety per cent of the people to be employed at the project will be locals.
“This is a big project. We will start by growing crops that will suit the normal rainy season like rice, maize, vegetables and other crops. The aim is to increase the affordability of food in this country and sell the rest outside the country….Our utmost goal is to cultivate a total of one million hectares in different parts of the country,” he said.
He also said that his organization has been involved in social issues and is determined to focus on agriculture as it seeks to play an increasingly important role in creating an economically independent Tanzania as envisioned by President John Magufuli.