Opening a meeting that brought together different researchers from academic, economy, agriculture and research institutions in Dar es Salaam yesterday, he said that the current policy which was enacted in 2013 is outdated and since its enactment, there have never been a law and regulations.
He said, instead, there had been separate laws governing crop boards such as coffee board, cotton board and cashew nuts board but not a single law for all crops. He said as a result, because there is no such law, land use can be changed any time, anyhow, and used anyhow.
“As a result if we want to establish big agribusiness plantations, it is difficult because we have no law in place to guide this process. So we must review the 2013 policy and enact law that suits the current environment,” he stressed.
He also stressed the need for registration of all farmers to have a data base and recognize them, understand the crops they produce, where they produce, their production capacity, and the inputs required for each farmer.
“This is like you are the head of a certain academic institution, if one realise that you don’t know the number of your students, he or she must doubt your competence. That is similar to our Ministry, we want to have the data base of all farmers and formalize them,” he said.
He challenged researchers in the country to conduct fruitful research that will bring greater impact, increase crop productivity and agriculture development especially around strategic crops.
He said the industrial development of this country depends very much on the raw materials from agriculture sector which contributes over 66 percent of all the raw materials needed for industrial development.
He said agriculture contributed 30 per cent of DGP and another 30 percent of forex earnings and 100 percent for food security and nutrition.
Citing an example, the research could be directed on strategic crops such as Maize, Cotton, Cassava, Cashewnuts, tobacco, tea, millet, sorghum, coffee, palm oil and other crops for edible oil
”This does not mean other crops are neglected, No!, we understand their importance and shall deal with them all, but we have elected few priority and strategic crops to change the livelihood of Tanzanians, provide employment and spur nation economy,” he stressed.
He also stressed the need for registration of farmers to have data base and recognize them, what crops they produce, where they produce, their production capacity, and the inputs required for each farmer.
“We want also to revive production of sugar. Currently the requirement is 670,000 tones, but production capacity of all our industries is 300,000 tons only. So we have deficit of more than 370,000 tons of sugar,” he said.
As the ministry we think that our environment is conducive enough to produce enough sugar and construct more sugar industries and can meet the demands of our people and export some, he added.
He said that agriculture must move from rainfed agriculture to irrigation agriculture to increase productivity, benefit the farmers and the nation economy.
“We must start crops insurance for our farmers so that they can afe when faced by challenges such as floods to recover and continue with production. We must also revive cooperatives and supervise them to benefit the farmers,” he said.
Director of Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI)-Selian Centre, Dr. Joseph Ndunguru stressed on the importance of technology transfer and the fight against crop diseases and pests to help the farmers increase productivity.