Another June 8 is upon us again, when the international community commemorates World Oceans Day each succeeding year, as proposed at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit in Brazil on the Environment and Development.
World Oceans Day was formally adopted by the United Nations in 2008 to support worldwide implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs-2030), and “foster public interest in the protection of oceans and sustainable management of their resources”.
In our considered view, this is wherein comes in this day and age the blue economy concept. Blue economy is a term in economics which relates to the functional exploitation and preservation of the marine environment at its widest.
Generally, the term is used in the scope of international development when describing a sustainable development approach to coastal and related resources.
This covers a wide range of economic sectors that include – but are by no means limited to – conventional fisheries; aquaculture; maritime transport; coastal, marine and maritime tourism, as well as seabed mining, renewable coastal-related energy, bioprospecting and marine ecosystem/blue carbon services.
Not only that, World Oceans Day is also given special importance because the oceans produce at least 50 percent of the oxygen found on Planet Earth; absorb about 30 percent of the carbon dioxide produced by humans – thus buffering to a certain extent the adverse impacts of global warming.
Also, oceans are key to the global economy – as already noted in terms of the Blue Economy.
Hence the appropriateness of the theme for this year’s World Oceans Day: ‘The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods.’
June 8 is, indeed, a day for humanity to celebrate the oceans in all their splendour in terms of all-inclusive, sustainable socioeconomic development on Planet Earth this side of the heavens above.
IRRIGATION IS THE WAY TO GO
The potential of irrigation to revolutionise agriculture in Tanzania has been grossly underestimated over the years. This is among key areas where there has been no shortage of rhetoric and lip service for as long as one can remember.
If Tanzania is to feed itself and ensure year-round food security, irrigation is a must. Agriculture employs about 80 per cent of Tanzanians of working age, and accounts for 75 per cent of rural household incomes, but its contribution to the country’s gross domestic product is less than 30 percent.
Irrigation is the way to go, as rain-fed agriculture has proven quite unreliable in recent decades. As climate change continues to wreak havoc on weather patterns, farmers can no longer afford to rely on seasonal rains. With irrigation, farmers can start profitable businesses, and graduate from subsistence to commercial farming. That way, millions of families can be pulled out of grinding poverty.
Irrigation is the key with which to unlock agricultural productivity. Ready access to water enables farmers to diversify and grow higher value crops such as fruits and vegetables. Unlike farmers who wait for the rains, those using irrigation have more crop cycles, and can go to the market when prices are high.