Disaster management committees from village to regional levels have been told to put in place tangible strategies that will help them mitigate natural disasters when they occur.
The directive has been issued by the national disaster management committee in the Prime Minister’s Office.
Speaking at a training workshop for members of the Rukwa regional disaster management committee, PMO officer Bashir Taratibu said strategising is important for handling roles and responsibilities in the event of disasters at any level.
The committees are established under the Disaster Management Act No. 7 of 2015. Taratibu said this legislation elaborates on what each stakeholder should do when dealing with disasters.
To this end, he advised the Rukwa regional disaster management committee to set aside a specific budget in the next financial year, while making plans on how to collect enough financial resources for use when disasters occur.
“If all similar committees across the country put in place such plans, we won’t fail to effectively deal with disasters or minimise their effects,” he asserted.
Rukwa regional disaster management committee chairperson Winnie Kijazi, who also doubles as regional administrative secretary, assured the PMO that they will put in place such a plan.
According to Kijazi, challenges were encountered in the region when heavy rains coupled with strong winds hit Sumbawanga and Nkasi districts late last year, which taught them a hard lesson.
“We thank the Prime Minister’s Office for prompt response whenever we ask them for assistance. We have also decided to put in place plans which would enable us to deal with such situations in future,” she said.
The region’s disaster management coordinator, Aziza Kalyatiilya, said a plan is already underway to disseminate public awareness and education to wananchi in order to empower them when dealing with disasters in their areas.
“We are educating people on disaster preparedness, prevention and mitigation; we are also educating them on how to restore natural conditions after disasters have hit,” Kalyatiilya said.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture is reviewing the credentials of cooperative union leaders across the country in a bid to get people who are competent enough to man the outfits.
The permanent secretary in the ministry, Engineer Mathew Mtigumwe, said the system of having cooperative union leaders whose only qualifications are knowing how to read and write has been overtaken by time.
Speaking in Rukwa recently, Mtigumwe said the verification would enable the most competent people to be assigned the work of running the cooperatives which are important entities in the implementation of the government’s agricultural sector growth strategy.
He made the remarks during a meeting with agricultural officers and agro sector stakeholders including farmers, farm inputs dealers, crop processing company and cooperatives representatives in Rukwa region.
The PS stressed that the cooperatives system remains an important part of agricultural sector development and, if utilised well, can help to fight poverty. The system can also help boost the government’s industrialisation drive which is expected to revolutionalize agriculture in the country.
“Such an important entity cannot be entrusted to people whose only qualifications are knowing how to read and write. We need more educated and more competent people to run these cooperatives effectively,” he said.
During his tour of the region, Mtigumwe also visited fertiliser shops and warehouses owned by ETG, YARA and PREMIER companies. He congratulated the companies and other stakeholders for ensuring there are enough fertilisers for farmers in the region.
On crops markets, the PS said quality of crops should be the driving force if farmers wanted to get lucrative gains from their produce.
He said it is easy to find local and international markets for quality products which can withstand the competition out there.
The ministry will continue to take appropriate steps to deal with the emergence of pests which affect crops in many parts of the country, he added.
The PS directed regional administrations in Rukwa and elsewhere across the country to identify areas which have been affected by such pests and notify the ministry so that appropriate mitigation measures can be rolled out.