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Ministry to expand irrigation land

DEPUTY Minister for Agriculture, Mr Hussein Bashe has expressed the government commitment to adopt smart agriculture irrigation systems in order to improve food security in the country.

He said that through the system the government also expects to increase irrigation land to 1.2 million hectors by 2025.

Mr Bashe was responding to a question from Korogwe Rural MP Timotheo Mnzava (CCM) who sought to know the government’s plan to rehabilitate irrigation infrastructures at Mkomazi river basin in Korogwe District, Tanga Region.

The MP said the government had promised to construct a modern dam at the Mkomazi basin to improve irrigation farming in the area but it has not honored its promise for years.

“To combat the effects of climate change, we need integrated strategies and one of them is investing in sustainable irrigation that recognizes the role of farmers and the challenges they are facing … it is important for the government to invest in irrigation infrastructures at the Mkomazi scheme,” he said.

Responding, the deputy minister said that the government has been taking several measures to ensure it improves irrigation and expands irrigation land across the country including the Mkomazi basin.

“Mkomazi Basin is located at Manga Mikocheni Village in Mkomazi Ward, Korogwe District in Tanga region. This scheme has a total of 750 hectares that are suitable for irrigation farming and the government has improved its infrastructures in 300 hectares among the 500 hectares which are currently under irrigation,” Mr Bashe said.

He said the government needs a total of 6.4bn/- to improve irrigation infrastructures at the Mkomazi basin of which 4.04bn/- is for the construction of a dam and 2.34bn/- for the improvement of various infrastructures at the basin.

The deputy minister further said that the government was also planning to purchase more modern irrigation equipment. In a supplementary question Mlalo MP Rashid Shangazi, (CCM) sought to know the government’s plan to improve irrigation infrastructure in Pawaga and Ruaha Mbuyuni irrigation schemes.

According to him, the two schemes have been badly affected by floods but the government is yet to rehabilitate them.

In his response, Mr Bashe acknowledged that heavy rain pounded last year and this year has badly affected infrastructures in Pawaga and Ruaha irrigation schemes and that measures are taken to rehabilitate the infrastructure.

“The government has already taken measures and is now working to ensure that all infrastructures in the schemes are restored to allow farmers to continue with their activities,” he said.

Reports show that the country has 29.4 million hectares suitable for irrigation with different levels of development potentials categorised in three potential areas, high, medium and low potential.

The National Water Policy (2002) set out the future direction for the water sector in achieving sustainable development and utilisation of the nation’s water.

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