THE country through the Ministry of Agriculture is planning to implement intensive agricultural reforms, aiming at making the country's agricultural outputs grow by 10 per cent by the year 2030.
These reforms and modernisation together with digitalization of many auction systems of various cash crops will be possible as respective ministries have already set aside funds and budgets for implementing the same.
Revealing this was the Minister for Agriculture, Mr Hussein Bashe when officiating at the 12th National Coffee Stakeholders Meeting in Dodoma recently.
To start with the minister confidently said his ministry has a good budget to implement and supervise such reforms, as this year’s budget has been hiked from 300bn/-in the past years to 951bn/-.
Naming such reforms, he started with the digitalization of various cash crops auctioning, whereby coffee was not left behind as several digital auctioning have taken place, the same proving to be beneficial to farmers, as well private coffee buyers.
“Digital coffee auctioning has been held in Kagera, whereby the Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB) officials have camped for weeks to supervise it. The outcomes of these auctions were tremendous as Arabica coffee fetched 3,720/- per kilogramme compared to only 1,000/- realised in the past years.
“As for Robusta coffee digital auctioning held today (17th June) farmers instantly received a price of 1,700/- per kilogramme compared to 1,100/-for the same received in the past,“ said the minister proudly.
He paid tributes to TCB officials and he announced his sudden intention of confirming Mr Primus Kimaryo, currently the Acting Director General of TCB to the post of Director General.
Talking about traceability and prompt payment of farmers, he said the current auctions make itself visible to everyone, the same is very transparent and on top of it all farmers are paid within 24 hours when compared to the past when payment was made after three to six months.
Coming to reforms made by the government on extension officers and their respective roles he said already the government has distributed a total of 7,000 motorcycles to extension officers across the country this being inclusive of those deployed in the coffee crop.
“The said motorcycles are well equipped with test kits to make a quick analysis of the health of the soil of any farm to be visited.
Extension officers should write in a register in a simple Swahili language type of the soil, crops favourable and types of fertilisers to be deployed.
As to farmers they must keep a notebook to be signed by the respective extension officer every time they are visited, he said adding that with this in mind agricultural output must increase.
On the modernisation of the agricultural system, he cautioned that the same is a long-term process requiring big investments in the farms and irrigation system as it is high time for the country to stop relying on rainfall and to this he said the current irrigation system is to be overhauled and a new one created in every district as a total of 50bn/- has been set aside for such an exercise.