In a significant move towards bolstering agricultural productivity and ensuring food security, the sixth-phase government, under the visionary leadership of Her Excellency Dr Samia S. Hassan, has taken a giant stride towards implementing ambitious irrigation projects in the Ruvuma Region of Tanzania. The government has allocated substantial funds in the fiscal year 2023/24 budget to develop extensive irrigation infrastructure in the river valleys of Mto Ruvuma, Mto Ruhuhu, and Litumbandyosi.
The announcement came during a visit by the Vice President, His Excellency Dr. Philip Isdor Mpango, to the districts of Nyasa and Mbinga in the Ruvuma Region, where he interacted with local communities and agricultural stakeholders.
Vice President Dr. Mpango commended the farmers of the Ruvuma Region for their pivotal role in ensuring the country’s food security, mainly through their exceptional contributions to the production of staple crops, with maize being a prime example. Recognizing the significance of irrigation in boosting agricultural output, Dr. Mpango emphasized the government’s commitment to investing in comprehensive irrigation projects to support the region’s farming communities further.
Speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture, Deputy Minister Hon. Anthony Mavunde provided detailed insights into the government’s ambitious plans for the river valley irrigation projects. The goal is to construct irrigation infrastructure in the expansive Mto Ruvuma Basin, covering an impressive 26,066 hectares. The project will also encompass the Mto Ruhuhu Basin, spanning 3,700 hectares, and Litumbandyosi, which accounts for 900 hectares. Additionally, the comprehensive initiative involves the excavation of five large reservoirs and the rehabilitation of existing irrigation schemes across various districts in the Ruvuma Region.
“The government is fully committed to successfully implementing these large-scale irrigation projects in the river valleys of Ruvuma. Through these initiatives, we aim to significantly increase crop production and enhance the livelihoods of our hardworking farmers,” assured Deputy Minister Mavunde.
Furthermore, the Ruvuma Region has contributed to Tanzania’s agricultural sector, with an impressive harvest of over one million metric tons of maize. To strengthen the region’s agricultural capabilities, the government plans to invest substantially in irrigation farming to optimize crop yields and reduce dependence on rain-fed agriculture.
In a concerted effort to provide secure markets for farmers’ produce, the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) has taken proactive measures by establishing 17 purchasing centers for maize in the districts of the Ruvuma Region.
Moreover, the government will continue to ensure farmers have easy access to subsidized fertilizer, a crucial agricultural input that significantly impacts crop yields. By registering multiple sales centers for fertilizer, farmers will enjoy greater convenience and reduced transportation costs.
With these transformative measures in place, the government envisions a future of flourishing agricultural productivity and enhanced food sufficiency in the Ruvuma Region. As the 2023/24 fiscal year budget is put into action, the nation eagerly anticipates the positive impact of these irrigation projects on the livelihoods of farmers and the overall economic growth of the region. The government’s steadfast commitment to sustainable agricultural development signifies a promising outlook for the nation’s food security and prosperity.