“It seems farmers still do not have enough knowledge on how to properly spray pesticides on their crops. Extension officers should therefore move from their offices and spend much time in the fields,” he said.
Dr Tizeba added that agricultural season is the high time to join farmers in the fields instead of waiting to receive reports in offices.
He also asked the ministry responsible with regional and local governments to emphasise the same so as farmers could be well attended to especially in this agricultural season.
The minister said that the directive was not only for cotton growing areas but it should go out to all the agricultural zones in the country.
“It is disappointing to see farmers’ crops being killed despite immense efforts and resources invested while our officers are in offices doing nothing, this is unacceptable...,” he said.
He pointed out that the government has already supplied subsidized pesticides but if farmers lack knowledge on the better ways of using it there will be no positive results.
“We have been receiving complaints from farmers that the pesticides supplied are fake and do not kill insects, but investigation shows that farmers have no knowledge on proper use of pesticides,” he said.
Dr Tizeba added that in a bid to avoid such complaints in the future, extension officers should work side by side with farmers to ensure proper use of the pesticides.
“I have been impressed with the way in which farmers have embarked on the modern farming, all we need now is to support them on the better ways of protecting their crops against pests,” he said.
He, however, pointed out that some extension officers are complaining of lack of support from district authorities for not being provided with necessary equipment for execution of their duties, saying that authorities should make sure that officers are facilitated for smooth undertaking of their duties.
The minister pointed out that the government has also purchased a special aero plane to be used in spraying pesticides in the areas affected with excessive pests and destructive birds.
The Tabora Regional Commission, Aggrey Mwanri promised to implement minister’s directives so as to boost crop yielding.
“We dedicated much time during farm preparations to the extent that we rejected all holidays for extension officers and we will do the same this time around to make sure that crops are well attended to,” said Mwanri.
He also pointed out that extension officers in the region will be provided with all the necessary equipment and take disciplinary measures against those among the officers who will be negligent.
The Tanzania Cotton Board (TCB) director general, Marco Mtunga said that the government has already supplied pesticides worth 10bn/- and the supply of three million bottles to farmers has started for this month and over two million others will be supplied next month.
“This supply will help farmers in controlling pests with the help of extension officers. We expect to produce not less than one to two thousand tonnes this season,” he said.