Editorial- Prioritizing Agricultural Research: Key to Tanzania’s Self-Sufficiency and Environmental Sustainability

Kilimokwanza.org stands steadfast in its support for the sentiments expressed by Vice President His Excellency Dr. Philip Mpango during the National Nane Nane Exhibitions held in Mbeya on August 1, 2023. We echo his emphasis on prioritising agricultural research and protecting dedicated land from invasion and misuse, recognizing it as a lifeline for the country’s self-sufficiency in food and increased foreign exchange earnings.

Tanzania, graced with fertile lands and diverse climates, has immense potential in agriculture, an asset we must protect and optimize through scientific research. The Vice President’s call for Tanzanians to understand that agriculture is a science hits the mark. Without prioritizing agricultural research, the dream of an agricultural revolution may remain a dream.

His directive to safeguard the lands of research institutions from land invasion or allocation for non-agricultural purposes is not only sound but also urgent. Over the years, many of our research institutions have suffered from invasions and reappropriations, threatening their existence and, by extension, the progress of our agricultural sector. We need more concerted efforts in surveying, issuing title deeds, and ensuring that these lands are always protected.

We also appreciate the Vice President’s concern for environmental sustainability and public health. He rightly addressed the significant impact of indiscriminate introduction of large herds of livestock into the highlands of the southern region, leading to environmental degradation and increased human-wildlife conflict.

Equally pressing is the issue of the misuse of pesticides and other chemicals in farming, fishing, and livestock keeping. We must heed the Vice President’s advice to adhere to expert instructions to protect human health and the environment. Let’s remember, agriculture is not merely about production; it is about sustainable production that takes into account the well-being of humans and other living organisms.

We applaud the government’s commitment to strengthening the country’s irrigation infrastructure, including the construction of rainwater harvesting reservoirs. This is a step in the right direction, as water management is integral to sustainable farming practices. Furthermore, we urge Tanzanians to use and maintain these infrastructures responsibly to prolong their usability and increase productivity.

Seeing the government’s plan to equip extension officers with various tools to improve the provision of extension services is heartening. We trust that these improvements will trickle down to the average Tanzanian farmer, resulting in increased food crop production and greater foreign exchange earnings.

As we stand with the Vice President’s call to action, we urge the government and relevant authorities to fast-track the implementation of these directives. We believe that a prosperous, food-secure, and environmentally sustainable Tanzania is attainable if we prioritize and protect our agricultural sector.

Kilimokwanza.org remains committed to amplifying these essential messages and advocating for sustainable agricultural practices. Let us build a thriving, sustainable agricultural sector for a better tomorrow together.