Tanzanian Ministry of Agriculture Announces Major Irrigation Scheme Development in Mbarali


The Tanzanian Ministry of Agriculture has announced its plans to construct infrastructure for the Nguvukazi Mwanavala irrigation scheme in the Imalilo Songwe area, Mbarali district. This significant development, covering an estimated 6,500 hectares, is poised to enhance agricultural productivity in the region.

This ambitious project will commence following the implementation of directives from President John Magufuli, executed through a ministerial committee. The announcement was made by Gerald Kusaya, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, during his visit to the rice farmers of the scheme, highlighting the government’s commitment to modernizing agriculture.

Currently, approximately 6,500 hectares of the total 9,500 hectares suitable for irrigation from the Ruaha River in the Songwe/Ibumila village are farmed using traditional infrastructure. Farmers in this area have constructed a natural weir to support their activities. Kusaya encouraged the farmers from Ubaruku and the Nguvukazi Mwanavala village, particularly those in the Mnazi hamlet, to adopt modern, commercial irrigation farming methods. “I want you, the people of Ubaruku and the village of Nguvukazi Mwanavala, Mnazi hamlet, to engage in modern, commercial irrigation farming so we can have many millionaires after this scheme is equipped with modern infrastructure by your government as directed by President Dr. John Magufuli. Continue farming here without fear,” Kusaya emphasized.

During his visit, the Permanent Secretary toured the farms, inspected an 8-kilometer main canal dug by the farmers, and visited the Ubaruku rice milling factory operated by their cooperative. He promised to address the challenges of rice market access, reinforcing the ministry’s objective to prevent water wastage through the construction of modern irrigation infrastructure. The National Irrigation Commission’s experts will undertake this project upon the fulfillment of the President’s directives.

Christopher Uhagile, Secretary of the Nguvukazi Mwanavala farm cooperative, reported that the cooperative, established in 2002, now boasts 3,500 members cultivating rice despite the lack of modern infrastructure. He expressed gratitude towards President Magufuli for his directive on December 20, 2018, which has been fulfilled by regional and district leadership, enabling continued cultivation with their weir and canal without further disturbances.

Chubi Mbayinjini, a representative of the farmers from the Mnazi hamlet, Mbarali district, thanked President Magufuli for removing GN 28, a regulation that allows them to continue farming in the Mwanavala farms. He appealed to the Ruaha River basin management to grant water usage permits to safeguard crops during droughts and enhance rice production.

The Permanent Secretary’s tour covered the regions of Mbeya, Songwe, Rukwa, and Katavi to inspect agricultural activities and address challenges faced by the ministry’s operatives, signaling a proactive approach towards improving Tanzania’s agricultural sector.

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