President Samia outlines priority areas in Agriculture, fisheries and livestock

Thursday April 22 2021
Samia 2 pic
By Louis Kalumbia

Dar es Salaam. President Samia Suluhu Hassan has on Thursday, April 22, 2021 announced several priorities for her government in the areas of agriculture, fisheries and livestock.

President Samia outlined several changes in her first address to Parliament in  Dodoma since taking oath of office as head of state replacing the fallen leader, Dr John Magufuli who died in March.

Speaking during her first appearance at the August House, President Hassan said the country’s agricultural productivity remained low despite the fact that 65 percent of Tanzanians are farmers.

She said the sector accounts for only 27 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 25 percent of foreign currency despite enabling the country to sustain itself in food security and provide 60 percent of raw materials to the industries.

“This is because of low productivity. For instance while one is required to produce eight tonnes per hectare, Tanzania’s farmers produce only 1.9 tonnes per hecctare. In the same vein, a Tanzanian cotton farmer produces 250 kilograms per acre instead of 1,000 to 1,250 per acre.”

She added: This applies to all other crops. The same also applies to livestock whereby the sector contributes only 7.4 percent to the GDP, despite the fact that Tanzania has the second largest livestock population in Africa.”

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She said in 1919/20, Tanzania produced 701,679 tonnes of meat and 3 billion litres of milk due to low productivity. Our cows produce an average of three litres per day instead of between 20 to 30 litres if modern livestock keeping methods  are put in place.

The Head of State said Tanzania cattle produce only 150 kilograms of meat instead of between 500 and 600 kilograms in some developed countries, noting that the situation was the same in the fisheries sector.

She said at the same time the country imports fish despite its having a coastline of 1,400 kilometers, lakes and rivers, noting that the government will foster investment in improved varieties and livestock keeping technologies through funding research and extension services.

“We will give them seeds, capital and allow them to keep producing on commercial basis. That will prevent us from importing seeds because such seeds will be available locally,” she said.

According to her, irrigation will be given special impetus, pledging to increase the size of land for irrigation from 561,383 hectares to 1,200,000 hectares by2025.

She said this will enable the country to reduce its dependency on rain-fed agriculture, noting that farmers will be required to farm on a commercial basis and contribute towards costs of irrigation infrastructures.