The government has allocated 16.7bn/- in the 2012/13 fiscal year for implementation of the Tanzania Agricultural Food Security Investment Plan (TAFSIP) in the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT).
Minister for Agriculture, Food security and Cooperatives Christopher Chiza revealed this when opening the Rice Crop Exhibition workshop and regional review in Dar es Salaam.
The exhibition has attracted participants from Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia which are members of the Eastern Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (EAAPP).
“This programme is part of the ‘Kilimo Kwanza’ strategy. Its implementation will include the private sector and small farmers in Coast region, Morogoro, Mbeya, Iringa, Rukwa,” he said.
He said in the G8 conference held in Camp David in the US in May this year, they pledged to contribute in implementation of TAFSIP through donation of USD 898 million.
Chiza said about 350,000 hectares in SAGCOT will be developed with infrastructure for irrigation, processing and markets. The target is to increase food availability and ensure nutrition security, he explained.
“The private sector and small farmers will be fully involved. There should be no reason to worry as every stakeholder will be considered”, he said, adding that there are opportunities to double rice production through SAGCOT.
He said apart from increasing food supply, the crop will help reduce poverty among residents.
He said despite challenges facing rice farmers in the country, production of the crop doubled in 2007/2008 whereby the production reached 1,346,340 tones.
He said the government also introduced the National Rice Development Strategy (NRDS) in 2009 which aims at improving cultivation of the crop, saying that in 2010/11 its production rose to 2,213,020 tones.