Tanzanian government on Monday pledged to allocate more financial resources to revamp the agriculture sector, which employ more than 70 percent of the east African nation’s population.
Japhet Hasunga, Tanzania’s Minister for Agriculture, made the pledge in the country’s northern safari capital of Arusha when speaking at the official launch of the accelerated varietal improvement and seed delivery of legumes and cereals in Africa project.
According to Hasunga, the government is determined to set aside adequate budget for agricultural research and development, making inputs available on time with proper and swift distribution systems across the country.
“The aim is to revolutionize the agricultural sector and spur the country’s economy,” the minister told the gathering which involved heads of research institutions, and other researchers from seven countries of Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Mali, Ghana, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Tanzania.
Hasunga said that among the crops that would be given priority in the newly launched project were legumes, which include beans, pigeon pea, and groundnuts while cereals will involve sorghum, millets and finger millets.
He however advised other African countries to emulate development made by developed countries by setting aside one to five percent of the budget for agriculture.
He said that increasing the budget for research and development would lead to efficiency in agriculture, improve crop production, feed processing industries, earn income, increase forex and spur the national economy.
David Chikoye, Director for Southern Africa of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, said that the project aimed at reducing poverty, improving nutrition and looked at issues of sustainable development.
He said the project focused on breeding to generate improved varieties, and the private sector as multipliers should seize opportunities to capitalize on the commercialization of the crops. Enditem