ZANZIBAR has invested 59bn/- in construction of irrigation infrastructure on 1,524 hectares in Unguja and Pemba to boost agricultural production and guarantee food security in the country.
President Ali Mohamed Shein said that under the Zanzibar Agricultural Sector Development Programme (Z-ASDP), the government envisages constructing a huge cereal warehouse in Pemba and seaweed processing plant at Chamanangwe area also in Pemba.
Opening the third Nanenane agricultural shows at Kizimbani grounds on the outskirts of Zanzibar city, Dr Shein appreciated what he described as “high awareness among Zanzibaris on modern agricultural practices.”
He cited an increase in uses of fertilisers from 130 to 1,500 tonnes, and herbicides from 12,000 to 30,000 litres during the past ten years, as well as more uses of tractors as indications of modernised farmers in Zanzibar.
“...as a result, paddy production has increased from 1.3 to 4.5 tonnes per hectare under irrigation areas. The country’s total production of rice has risen from 26,962.5 tonnes in 2010 to 47,507 tonnes in 2018,” Dr Shein said, reaffirming the government’s resolve to invest more in agricultural production.
The government has as well purchased tractors and other farm implements in its drive to mechanise the sector, said Dr Shein, hinting that 20 new tractors have just arrived in the country in addition to the 38 farming machines which are already in work.
President Shein also pledged construction of a modern fishing camp and Malindi fish market, which will serve over 6,500 people.
Construction of the 18bn/- market has started under a Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) grant.
“We are determined to intensify the blue economy by using our second fishing boat, which is expected to arrive in the country soon,” said Dr Shein, adding that the revolutionary government plans to purchase four more fishing boats and construct two fish fillet processing plants.
He said production of food crops, fruits and vegetables has increased from 289,481 to 404,285 tonnes between 2010 and 2019, while cattle, goat and chicken meat have increased to 24,057, 2,317 and 120,288 tonnes, respectively, during the period.
Further, President Shein said chicken eggs and cow milk increased to 11,937,050 eggs and 4,641,258 cow milk litres, as caught fishes increased from 25,396 to 36,728 tonnes during the period under review.
The president partly credited the annual agricultural shows with the great successes in the sector.
“Generally, the agricultural shows, which we conduct annually in Unguja and Pemba, have helped farmers, fishers, industrialists, traders and other entrepreneurs to gain more skills and understanding in production of quality produce,” he said.
He said increased food production was inevitable if the country has to remain peaceful and provide a conducive environment for hard work towards development.
“It’s an open secret that without sustainable development in the agricultural sector, our peace and tranquillity will shake due to uncertainty of food availability. Food insecurity will always breed complaints, anger and hatred...hunger brings about many problems,” he said.
Over 200 exhibitors from the public and private sectors are taking part in the 10-day event in Unguja. President Shein is scheduled to fly to Pemba Island today to open the national level Nanenane exhibitions.