Irrigation technology means more food for the country

07Nov 2018
Editor
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Irrigation technology means more food for the country

Japan is assisting Tanzania to roll out modern farming initiatives; so that the latter can achieve the national target of ensuring one million hectares of arable land is placed under irrigation schemes by 2020.

The Japanese envoy to Tanzania, ambassador Masaharu Yoshida, in January last year  said during the inauguration of a proposed 150 hectare irrigation project being established under the Arusha Technical College (ATC), with funding from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Ambassador Yoshida said they are already assisting to bolster Tanzania's paddy farms because Japan is an expert in this field and through this cooperation, the country's rice production has doubled within a ten-year time frame.

Therefore, the only way to combat the effects of climate change and deal with natural disasters such as floods was to invest heavily in irrigation schemes.

 

 It targets to expand farming areas under irrigation and also to overhaul the existing schemes that still operate through outdated traditional irrigation structures. It is reported that, nearly 465,000 hectares, are under irrigation and these accounts for just five per cent of the country's total estimated 29.4 million hectares under cultivation.

 Despite the limited area of irrigated land, more than 24 per cent of the total food production in the country came from such farms under irrigation schemes, indicating great potential.

The government of Japan, through JICA disbursed nearly two billion/- to support the ATC scheme as well as other related projects. The Oljoro Training Farm includes a man-made lake, rainwater harvesting facilities, sprinklers, and drip irrigation including water channels crisscrossing the vast 150-hectare real estate.

 Future plans for the project which runs under the 'Irrigation Human Resources Development,' include establishing student hostels and lecture rooms at the farm located about 20 kilometres from the Arusha City Centre.