In separate interviews, farmers appealed to the government to build roads into the scheme to eradicate inconveniences of having to carry their crops on the head to special collection centres.
As for now the farmers are forced to carry their rice crops for over three kilometres to the centres.
“The situation increases rice production cost as we pay a lot of money to pay porters who carry the rice on their heads,” said Dasius Paulo, a farmer and the scheme’s secretary.
Paulo said the scheme is used by farmers from three villages of Ngasinyi, Oria and Mawala, who spend a lot of their time to transport the rice on the head instead of motor vehicles due to lack of road infrastructures.
He added: “The Scheme has about 1,600 farmers with a total of more than 5,000 acres under cultivation, and each acre produces about 20 bags of rice.”
“There are also about 15,000 porters engaged in carrying the rice crop. Even though we thank the government for the construction of the irrigation canals and we receive big support from the Kilimanjaro Irrigation Zone Office.”
Hawa Kasote, a farmer and treasurer of Mawala farmers Community said as for now the collection of revenue from the scheme was problematic because farmers first want the government to construct roads infrastructures in the scheme.
Kilimanjaro Regional Irrigation Engineer, Said Ibrahim, said the first decision by the National Irrigation Commission (NIRC) was to expand the scheme area that increased land under cultivation, and added that as for now farmers can cultivate over 4,500 hectares through irrigation.
NIRC has expanded irrigation area in Kilimanjaro Region from 53,000 hectares to 85,000 hectares to open up opportunities for gainful commercial farming.