THE government has expressed commitment to increase areas under irrigation schemes in efforts to expand irrigation agriculture in various parts of the country.
Deputy Minister for Agriculture Hussein Bashe told the Parliament that during the 2019/2020 financial year and 2020/2021, irrigated areas increased to 695,045 hectares, reaching 58 per cent of the targeted 1,200,000 hectares by 2025.
“This increase is due to the construction and rehabilitation of irrigation infrastructure in the Kilangali Seed Farm (Kilosa) scheme through the Expanded Rice Production Project (ERPP) and 13 Small-Scale Irrigation Development Project (SSIDP) schemes,” he said, when responding to a question from AgnestaKaiza (Special Seats CCM).
The lawmaker wanted to know about the government strategy to invest in irrigated agriculture in Kigoma, Mwanza, Shinyanga, Tabora, Singida, Dodoma and Morogoro regions to increase agricultural crops which will be transported through the Standard Gauge Railways (SGR).
He explained that the government, through the National Irrigation Commission, continues to implement irrigated agriculture in the regions covered by the SGR from Dar es Salaam Region, Mwanza, Tabora and Kigoma.
According to him, the implementation of the projects aims at making assessment of all production areas where SGR passes through before constructing proper irrigation so that farmers can make use of the high speed train.
"The government has completed the initial construction of irrigation schemes in Nyida (Shinyanga), Mwalunili (Igunga), Gwanumpu (Kakonko), Itagata (Singida), Mvumi and Kilangali (Kilosa), Dakawa and Kigugu (Mvomero) and Msolwa ujamaa and Njage( Kilombero), “he said.
In addition, the deputy minister said, the government would continue with the completion of the schemes so that they could be used effectively by farmers.
“Currently the government is completing a feasibility study and design of 3,000-hectre on Luiche (Ujiji/Kigoma) Project where construction of the project is expected to begin in the2021/2022 financial year,” he said.
In addition, the deputy minister said, other irrigation projects through the SGR to be implemented in the 2021/2022 financial year include the Ngomai (Kongwa) scheme, Nata and Idudumo schemes (Nzega), the Msufini scheme together with the Msimba Seed Farm (Morogoro).