The Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania, His Excellency Dr. Philip Mpango, has condemned the land invasion trend and changed the land use specifically reserved for Agricultural Research.
The Vice President issued these directives today, on August 1, 2023, while opening the National Nane Nane Exhibitions taking place at the John Mwakangale grounds in Mbeya Region. He mentioned that many research institution’s areas have been invaded and parceled out for other uses, which threatens agricultural and livestock research, as the research centers will lack sufficient working space.
The Vice President urged Tanzanians to recognize that agriculture is science, and thus, without prioritizing agricultural research, the agricultural revolution will remain a dream. He stressed the importance of surveying research institution lands, issuing title deeds, and safeguarding them at all times. Similarly, he directed relevant authorities to allocate and survey land in seed production areas and protect them from invasion.
Additionally, the Vice President condemned the presence of large herds of livestock introduced in the highlands of the southern region. He said their impact is significant, including severe environmental degradation, increased conflict between farmers and herders, wildlife such as elephants fleeing livestock harassment and moving into human settlements causing crop damage and even human fatalities. He called on all relevant Ministries and Regional Commissioners to take firm action to control the illicit introduction of livestock into their jurisdictions.
The Vice President urged farmers, herders, and fishermen to adhere to expert instructions to produce without harming human health and the environment due to the increased misuse of pesticides and other chemicals, a matter with significant implications for human health and other living organisms.
He added that the government continues to strengthen irrigation infrastructure in the country, including constructing rainwater harvesting reservoirs for irrigation, aiming to achieve an irrigation area of 1,200,000 hectares by 2025. He also called on citizens to use and maintain this infrastructure so that it can be used for a long time and help increase productivity.
The Vice President called on farmers to increase food crop production so that the nation can be self-sufficient in food and earn more foreign exchange from various crops. He said the government, for its part, will continue to strengthen extension services by providing extension officers with various tools, including motorcycles, medical equipment, and soil health testing devices.
He called on the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to start preparing to take other youth in the Building a Better Tomorrow (BBT) program and directed the Ministries of Agriculture and Livestock and Fisheries to see how best to collaborate with the Ministry of Defense and the National Service so that volunteering youth can be prioritized in the program.
The Vice President continued to urge financial institutions and banks in the country to continue lowering interest rates to assist farmers and herders. He called on the Ministry of Agriculture and Finance to consider establishing an agricultural development fund that would help lower interest rates for farmers, herders, and fishermen.
He congratulated the researchers who helped in the availability of seeds and called on the Ministry of Agriculture to find a way to award young people and innovators who provide various solutions in agriculture, livestock, and fishing.
For his part, the Minister of Agriculture Hussein Bashe said that the agricultural sector continues to improve due to government efforts to uplift the sector, including an increased budget of 970 billion shillings from 294 billion. He added that the improvement of the sector has led to the production of 80,000 tons of coffee, 120 million kilograms of tobacco, while cotton production has doubled. Bashe thanked the government for providing 100 billion shillings to help cotton companies buy the crop from farmers.
Minister Bashe said agricultural development depends on efficiency in other sectors, including ports. He added that changes and profitable investments in ports are currently needed as it will assist farmers in transporting their crops.
He also said that from 2024, all African countries will receive invitations to attend the Nane Nane exhibitions, emphasizing that the invitation will not only be for leaders but also for farmers and buyers from these countries. He added that, following the elevation of the exhibitions to international status, various efforts are ongoing, including improving the venues used for the events by making them permanent.
Office of the Vice President
August 1, 2023