TANZANIA is set to increase irrigation network towards sustainable industrial agriculture economy, the Minister for Water and Irrigation, Mr Gerson Lwenge, has said.
He said at the just ended Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair (DITF) that irrigated land will be increased to one million hectares in two years from only 460,000 currently out of 29 million hectares suitable for irrigation.
“Irrigation can speed up agriculture productivity because there is a possibility of cultivating twice a year contrary to reliance on rain-fed farming where farmers harvest once a year,” he said.
He said irrigation is the best alternative in improving agriculture output in the country where farming depends on rain-fed farming which is seasonal. He said also that the increased irrigation networks can assure agro processing industries with reliable raw materials throughout the year.
Similarly, by ending seasonal farming through irrigation, agriculture becomes major source of sustainable jobs to over 80 per cent of population employed in the sector.
Agriculture has great potential for a faster and sustainable growth as well as high potential for equitable distribution of the growth benefits to a wider population in the country.
He said plans are in the pipeline to develop, construct the irrigation infrastructure in different parts of the country to ensure proper and sustainable irrigation systems. He said various measures are already being implemented where some regions including Mbeya have commenced using the method in paddy fields.