Hasunga made the directive when addressing a meeting which brought together agricultural experts, officials from agricultural institutions and the ministry held in Dodoma on Thursday.
He said there are no reasons for farmers in Tanzania to depend on imported seeds while the country has a number of irrigation schemes as well as agricultural experts who can facilitate production of quality seeds.
“We want seeds to be produced at the irrigation schemes during the drought season. This will ensure farmers of enough seeds during the rainy season. Rain seasons should only be used to plant crops and not production of seeds”, said the minister.
According to the minister, Tanzania uses 186,000 tonnes of seeds annually whereas local production of seeds stands at 71,000 tonnes only. He said more than 100,000 tonnes of the seeds are imported outside Tanzania.
He said the country’s agriculture sector has been growing with the exception of some few crops which its seeds are inadequately produced. He said the crops include legumes, cashew nuts, coffee, cassava and palm oil trees.
“President John Magufuli has directed us to enhance local production of seeds through irrigation. We want farmers to use locally produced seeds and ensure its availability across the country”, Hasunga noted adding the ministry has started to implement the directive through its agricultural institutions and experts.
He said Tanzania has a total of 29.4 million hectares suitable for irrigation but only 475,000 hectares have so far been utilized.
The minister warned over increased availability of fake seeds, insecticides and fertilizers in local markets, noting the sub-standard products affect production as well as contributing into farmers incurring losses.
Deputy Permanent Secretary, Prof Siza Tumbo assured the minister that all the directives will be implemented accordingly.
The Agriculture Ministry has a total of 22 agricultural institutions whose board managements and directors attended the Thursday meeting.
Tabling the agriculture ministry budget for the 2019/2020 financial year, Agriculture Minister Japhet Hasunga told the Parliament that National Irrigation Commission (NIRC) has been allocated with 37.48bn/- out of the total ministry budget of 253.85bn/-.
The (NIRC) is charged with coordination, promotional and regulatory functions in the development of the irrigation sector. It has developed comprehensive guidelines to manage irrigation schemes countrywide.