Apart from increased yields, the district’s revenue has also been amplified, according to Simanjiro district executive director, Yefred Myenzi.
Addressing journalists, Myenzi said the government invested some 2bn/- for improvement of irrigation infrastructures which included training of paddy farmers on how to use and care for the infrastructures.
He noted that improved yields have contributed into changing the livelihood of Simanjiro farmers since they can meet their daily requirement and build better houses.
“Our district collects between 100m/- and 200m/- annually from various levies paid by farmers who are engaged in irrigation farming”, he noted adding farmers cultivate crops two times a year.
Myenzi said the district is no longer facing food shortage as farmers harvest enough for both, food and business.
He however highlighted some of the challenges facing farmers in his district as lack of reliable market as well as high cost of transport since most of the schemes are allocated far from the town. He mentioned another challenge as lack of processing factories.
The director called upon the private sector and agricultural stakeholders to grab the many opportunities in irrigation farming insisting the district has some 10,000 hectares suitable for irrigation farming.
He said that out of the 10,000 hectares, only 3000 hectares have been improved and that so far farmers have utilized 1000 hectares only. He said the utilized schemes are Lemkuna, Ngage, Kambiya, Chokaa, Ruvu and Remiki.
Earlier, central zone irrigation Engineer, Lucy Lema said that her zone consists of 138,419 hectares of irrigation schemes scattered in Dodoma, Manyara AND singida regions.
According to Lema, some 62,300 hectares are irrigated during rainy season while farmers cultivate another 13,100 hectares during draught. He said that in Dodoma region irrigation farming is practiced depending on harvested rain water and streams.
Speaking in Dar es Salaam at the Budget Breakfast 2019 Evaluation Forum that brought together investors, traders and agro-sector stakeholders, economist analysts suggested the need for the government to heavily invest in rainwater harvesting technology to make farmers improve crop production through irrigation.
They insisted on the need for the government to venture more on rainwater harvesting technology by providing tax incentives for people who are interested in importing the technology.