The commission’s Engineer, Seth Lusweme, who is also the former Acting Director of the Commission under the Ministry of Water and Irrigation said the 25 big farms would be located in Coast, Morogoro, Mara, Mtwara, Iringa and Kigoma regions reputed for their suitable condition for irrigation schemes.
“The National Irrigation Commission wants to see all areas that have irrigation potentials are utilised,” he said.
“Through the BRN, we will emphasize on improving irrigation scheme technology so as to provide good water control by delivering water closer to the plant root which will also enable the farmer to grow crops with much less water, which in the end generates more yields,” he said.
According to him, Tanzania utilizes only 1.6 per cent of the land which is suitable for irrigation farming, saying much has to be done to increase the areas for irrigation.
But his commission was making all efforts to ensure irrigation schemes would be improved and less rain water used in agricultural activities, he said.
“To improve irrigation schemes in the country, the government formed the National Irrigation Commission to implement all activities of irrigation farming on discovering its importance in boosting production,” he said.
Prof. Andrew Temu, an agricultural economist from Sokoine University of Agriculture advised the government to give investment in irrigation the first priority if it was serious in solving food insecurity and generate earnings from food exports.
But the professor was just echoing the environmentalists who had been insisting on irrigation farming as a way to prevent climate change and overcome its impact.
Faisal Issa from the Forum CC in climate change had earlier said that irrigation would not only speed up the economic growth, but withstand turbulent of the climate change if $125m is invested in one agricultural plan to adapt to climate change for the next five years.
He was speaking about an agricultural resilience climate plans 2014/19 report that cited irrigation potential area in Tanzania as 30 million hactares.
Under BRN, the area under irrigation is expected to increase by 389,000 hectares, in addition to the current 450,392 hectares.