Govt comes up with new strategy to bolster production of organic foods

05Jan 2023
The Guardian
Govt comes up with new strategy to bolster production of organic foods

THE government has come up with a strategy to uplift performance of organic agriculture and production of organic foods across the country.

Christened 'National Ecological Organic Agriculture Strategy', the document will be officially launched in June, this year.


Organic agriculture is a holistic production management system which promotes and enhances agro-ecosystem health, including biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity.


Organic foods are products derived from certified farm management systems using land husbandry techniques and biological manual methods instead of synthesis inputs.


The eight-years initiative being coordinated by the Ministry of Agriculture focuses on awareness creation over organic agriculture among local farmers and relevant stakeholders, with an eye to heighten production and productivity, as well as market for organic produce in the country.


Among others, the robust strategy also seeks to ensure the country promotes both, conventional and organic farming in order to give the public a useful option to opt, whether to consume foods from organic farming or from conventional farming systems.


In an interview with The Guardian yesterday, Chairperson of the strategy's committee, Revelian Ngaiza, the Policy Advisor and National Coordinator for the Youth Involvement in Agriculture at the ministry said  the move was partly to implement the set national policy on organic agriculture as stipulated under the Agriculture National Policy, 2013 (NAP 2013).


“The strategy is not to further improve performance of organic agriculture among the farmers by ensuring farmers adopt recommended biological inputs, bio-pesticides and other environmentally friendly agronomic practices,” he said.


He said before formulating the strategy, they made a tour of all agro-ecological zones across the country, to determine farmer's performance on organic agriculture, but also availability and market for organic foods.


“We conducted deep survey in several regions, including Lindi, Mtwara, Ruvuma, Njombe, Mbeya, Songwe, Singida, Simiyu, Mwanza, Tabora, Katavi, Kigoma, Kagera, Manyara, Kilimanjaro, Arusha, Tanga, Morogoro and Dar es Salaam,” he briefed.


He added: “The survey discovered that most farmers in the country, around 80 percent, are poorly practicing organic farming but they're far from adopting the needed practices and inputs to enable them realising enough crop yields.”


He said in some of the giant supermarkets, especially in Dar es Salaam there are few packages of local-made organic foods items and the demand is high to the extent the owners are being compelled to import such items from outside the country.


Ngaiza said implementation of the strategy will encompass a number of issues, including push for improved production for the improved local seeds varieties, bio-pesticides and other inputs, together with awareness of seeds and crops preservations as well as environmental preservation initiatives.


As part of the strategy, he shared the previous studies established that Tanzania is lagging behind other countries within East Africa (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) when it comes to promotion of organic agriculture.


“Neighbouring Kenya and Uganda are doing well in organic agriculture,” he informed.


Ngaiza said its implementation is being funded by the government in cooperation with diverse institutions and stakeholders in agriculture sectors through the Tanzania Organic Agriculture Movement (TOAM).


Apart from the national agriculture policy, the government has also expressed high commitment to motivate and push for organic agriculture in the Agricultural Sector Development Programme (ASDP II), but also the country's 2017 Climate -Smart Agricultural Guideline details over how the government understands and is willing to promote agroecology.



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