Mbeya. Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa has called on the country’s youth to venture into farming if they are to transform their social economic status as well as improve Tanzania’s agriculture sector.
The Premier said this yesterday after he had launched two initiatives targeting young farmers in Tanzania saying: “These initiatives by Mwananchi Communications Limited (MCL), Vodacom and Agriculture ministry are meant to tackle the country’s youth potential in the sector.”
The said initiatives include the MCL and Vodacom ‘Farm Clinic’ and ‘the Building a Better Tomorrow’ (BBT) which is administered by the Ministry of Agriculture, the former is meant to provide, farmers with access to agricultural information and training while the later focuses on re-engaging youth in agriculture and its value chain.
The Prime Minister urged the youth saying: “Don’t shy away as the government has directed all local council authorities to allocate enough land for youth as well as the financial institutions have been directed to disburse the required capital.”
According to Premier Majaliwa, the agriculture sector presents enormous opportunities (about 50 percent) to the youth, and that the country’s youth can choose to venture into farming or focusing on agribusiness with assurance of land, capital, training, and technology.
Adding: “Through this, we hope that you will be empowered economically while helping the government in transforming the agricultural industry as well as creating jobs in the country.”
He challenged the financial institutions to provide farmers with access to finance as being critical for growth of the sector, adding: “Shifting from subsistence farming into commercial agriculture, requires funds. So, don’t just say it but walk the talk.”
Earlier, Mr Hussein Bashe, Minister for Agriculture, informed Premier Majaliwa that MCL initiative was meant to create awareness, which is the main objective of the Farm Clinic initiative thus showing farmers that agriculture was productive and remain the backbone.
“Under this Farm Clinic initiative, the ministry will work together with MCL and Vodacom in organising training events, providing experts to assist in finding the right technologies in the agriculture spectrum,” he noted. But for the BBT, more focus is to attract youth to engage in agriculture and its value chain adding: “We allocated 69,000 hectares for the project, of which 20,000 hectares are located in Dodoma while the remaining are in Mbeya.”
According to Mr Bashe, graduates and non-graduates will be involved in the said the projects whereby already the ministry has acquired a general title deed over the land and that each young farmer will be allocated appropriate land area for cultivation with a sublease title of not less than 33 to 66 years which grant them to access credit.
Adding that: “Modern irrigation infrastructure will be installed by the government; we will conduct proper soil analysis to determine a soil conductivity map as the health of crops rely heavily on the health of the soil where one plants.”
The government will link all farmers with the market, saying: “We will cluster them according to their produce, they will farm with market assurance in mind.”
The block farming model is a structure used to manage supply chains in an inclusive and sustainable way, with a block farm as the focal point of production.
In the case of Dodoma and Mbeya as pilot projects, the government intends to put various complementary measures in place to ensure processing facilities have a consistent supply of raw agricultural products.