TANZANIA’s green revolution drive is set to receive a massive boost with the National Irrigation Commission (NIRC) due to sign 21 contracts worth 150bn/- for the construction of irrigation schemes.
The signing of the contracts will be witnessed by President Samia Suluhu Hassan during the climax of the Agriculture Exposition here at the John Mwakangale grounds, in Mbeya, according to NIRC Director General Raymond Mndolwa.
According to Mr Mndolwa, the projects to be executed in one year, are part of the 361bn/- that were allocated by the Ministry of Agriculture for the NIRC to implement irrigation projects and modern farming in order to enhance food production.
The government has increased the budget for irrigation projects to 51bn/- last financial year to 361bn/- this financial year. He said the 21 contracts, which will cover 24,000 hectares, are part of the government’s plans to construct 97 irrigation schemes this financial year. Currently, the NIRC implements 72 irrigation projects across the country, 13 of them are in Mbeya region.
“We are determined to properly supervise execution of the coming projects for the sake to ensure productivity from the sector,” he said. Mr Mndolwa said the commission is also prepared to register and assist farmers on doing irrigation for economic gains at individual and national level. Besides the 361bn/-, the NIRC also has an extra budget of the 71bn/- loan that was acquired by the government from Kuwait Fund and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA).
“We shall ensure contractors who are awarded the tenders deliver to the maximum, we shall never hesitate to terminate the contracts for those who will underperform,” he explained.
In line with its green revolution drive, the government has massively increased the agriculture budget from 294bn/- in the 2021/2022 fiscal year to 954bn/- in the current budget.
President Samia Suluhu Hassan has underlined her government's commitment to lift the agricultural sector, which contributes nearly one-third of the country’s GDP and employs 75 per cent of the population. And irrigation farming is crucial for the country to tap into wide markets at local and international levels for cereal and horticultural products, according to the president.
But equally, the government envisages to create more than 3 million jobs for youths and women through the agricultural sector by 2025.
Tabling the national budget June, this year, the Minister for Finance and Planning, Dr Mwigulu Nchemba said the plan will be realised through expanding the irrigation area to 8,500,000 hectares equivalent to 50 per cent of the total area cultivated in the country by 2030. He said the government will scale-up small-scale irrigations.