Small scale farmers have requested the government to adhere to Maputo resolution to increase spending for agriculture from the current 6.8 percent to ten percent of the national budgetary resources.
Speaking in Dar es Salaam recently a farmer identified as Elias Kawea from Dodoma, said the government should increase the budget to the sector as agreed in Maputo few years ago, if it was serious about promoting agricultural productivity.
At the Second Ordinary Assembly of the African Union in July 2003 in Maputo, African Heads of State and Government endorsed the “Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security in Africa calling for 10 percent national budget allocation to agriculture development.
The Declaration contained several important decisions regarding agriculture, but prominent among them was the “commitment to the allocation of at least 10 percent of national budgetary resources to agriculture and rural development policy implementation within five years.
Delivering the Budget speech last year, the Minister for Finance Mustapha Mkulo said agriculture and irrigation have been allocated 6.8 percent of the total budget.
“We do not understand reasons which made the government hesitant to increase the annual budget to 10 percent, which would increase output and improve livelihood of farmers,” said Kawea.
He said there are some countries which have already have the target and their farmers have started to enjoy the benefits.
He pointed out that without ensuring that the small farmer got more resources, in the form of loans to buy inputs and transform farming techniques, economic growth would remain dismal.
Another farmer identified as Habib Simbamkuti who is the chairman of Small Scale Farmers network (Mviwata), lashed out at investors who had go against stipulated laws and regulations on land management.
He said land is the most precious commodity which a farmer depends on for production and income.
He said some investors who were allocated land for agriculture have started renting it to farmers at a cost of 50,000/- per acre leaving majority landless, he said.
He said the government should put in place measures which would ensure that farmers benefit from the land to avoid unnecessary conflicts.
The Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, Christopher Chiza, told this paper that the government was working on challenges facing the agriculture sector.
According to him already the government has established various projects aimed at increasing agricultural output.