The African Development Bank (ADB) has agreed to disburse over 3.5bn/- to finance big projects of construction of markets for agricultural produce and livestock products in six districts bordering neighbouring countries of Kenya and Uganda.
The construction of the markets is aimed at addressing the major challenge of lack of markets for agricultural produce which has been facing farmers and livestock keepers.
Lake Zone Head of the District Agriculture Sector Investment Project (DASIP) Julius Sokono made a statement recently in a meeting which involved experts from the agriculture and livestock keeping sectors from 28 districts of Kagera, Kigoma, Shinyanga and Mwanza regions.
He said the construction of the markets which will cost about 500m/= each, has started in the districts of Tarime (Mara), Ngara, Karagwe, misenyi (Kagera), Kahama (Shinyanga) and Kasulu (Kigoma) whereas the societies around the areas are required to contribute 20 per cent of the costs of the project.
He said that the DASIP which supervises the project has already implemented more than 2500 projects and formed 11,375 groups of farmers in 780 villages in 28 districts in the five regions of the Lake Zone.
He underscored that the purpose of the project was to increase benefit in agricultural productions as well as increasing incomes of the people who are in the groups.
Sonoko added that farmers have also benefited from entrepreneurship skills, proper use of fertilisers and prevention of diseases through the farming class sessions given by officials from each districts.
However according to him, through the groups farmers have benefited from various equipment including: 350 power tillers, 440mills machines and 36 machines which are used to process harvested cassavas.
Early on when opening the meeting on behalf of the Mara Regional Administrative Secretary, Eng Mathayo Athuman told the specialists who attended the meeting to set plans which would address the challenges facing the sectors of agriculture and livestock keeping and bring changes which would benefit both farmers and livestock keepers of these areas.
He stressed on the effective use of the knowledge they obtained from the meetings to deal with the challenges which have led many projects under DASIP to not being utilised because of low standards.