Quality seeds are unquestionably the basic input for increasing agricultural output. Effectiveness of other inputs like fertilisers and irrigation depends largely on improved seeds.
This shows why it is important for countries like Tanzania to make it easy for farmers to access to adequate quantities of quality seeds of different varieties if it is to realise its development goals.
Tanzanian is an agrarian country with the majority of its population earning a living through agriculture.
Available statistics in the ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Development show that over 80 per cent of Tanzanians live in rural areas and almost all of them are involved in the agriculture sector.
This figure presents challenges that must be overcome to improve the lives of Tanzanians.
For instance, the government has prioritised the production of crops like maize, wheat, rice, cassava and beans to improve food security and incomes. Are there adequate structures and mechanisms in place to ensure farmers access quality seeds for these crops, or fertilisers timely, and at affordable prices?
Farmers have in the past complained about lack of good seeds, and expensive fertilisers. That’s why there is need for collaboration between different government agencies, civil societies and the private sector players to support the sector.
We are happy that, already, the government has realised that bureaucracy involved when one is seeking to get the required seeds from private dealers is one of the challenges that hurt output.
To address this, it has pledged to ensure that private dealers have greater access to improved varieties of seeds.
They will be supplied with the seeds directly from the agricultural research centres, according to the deputy minister for Agriculture minister William ole Nasha.
As we continue to experience adverse climate changes, government agencies should also ensure they equip farmers with sustainable production methods, find the markets for their crops and safeguard themselves from the effects of climate change.