The first steps have been taken in President Kikwete’s ‘Kilimo Kwanza’ (Agriculture First) policy designed to inject fresh vigour into the agricultural industry.
Repossession of idle land
The government has initiated a countrywide move to revoke title deeds of idle land neglected by proprietors for more than twenty years. Some 115 plots totalling 177,000 hectares in Morogoro Region alone are to be repossessed.
According to the Daily News, 115 plots totalling 177,000 hectares have been identified in Morogoro Region alone and will soon be repossessed by the government. Funds are being allocated to facilitate surveys of other identified idle land ready for development in Manyara and Tanga Regions.
More engineers to be trained
The government has given the Arusha Technical College the job of training irrigation, agro mechanical and civil engineers to support the ‘Agriculture First’ drive.
Prime Minister, Mizengo Pinda said shortage of qualified irrigation engineers is holding back government efforts to boost agriculture. “We are facing a significant shortage of irrigation and related field engineers to serve in agriculture and irrigation schemes,” Pinda said.
The Guardian reported that the population of approaching 40 million people, 80 per cent of them farmers, was facing a shortage of over 250 irrigation engineers and 1,300 technicians in the irrigation field. Tanzania, with more than 44 million hectares of agricultural land, three of the largest 10 lakes in the world and a large network of rivers, uses less than one per cent of its arable land for Irrigation.
High quality cassava flour
Furthering the objectives of Kilimo Kwanza, a $4.5 million project funded by the Common Fund for Commodities, which will be implemented by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, is being launched. The aim is to raise the profile of cassava, in the form of high quality cassava flour, so as to make the crop a profitable and stainable source of income – The East African