PRESIDENT Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan has urged farmers to reserve their harvests, while outlining measures that the government is taking to maintain the country’s food and nutrition security.
President said the government has planned to increase the food stock to 500,000 tonnes from the current 250,000 tonnes as well as continue supporting farmers to increase their harvests.
Speaking at Bujora Cultural Centre in Kisesa Ward in Magu District, Mwanza Region on Tuesday during the inauguration of the Bulabo Cultural Festival, Dr Samia called upon Tanzanians to store their harvests instead of exporting them.
“In this year, we shall up the food reserve to 500,000 tonnes, I have instructed the Minister for Agriculture (Hussein Bashe) to work on this,” she said, while asking the Minister for Finance and Planning Dr Mwigulu Nchemba to release the money for that purpose.
President Samia therefore asked farmers to wait until the government through the Ministry of Agriculture buys their food crops instead of considering selling the harvests outside the country.
The increase in food reserves will assure the country sufficient supply during the crisis, whereas the government has already increased its ability to store food from 251,000 tonnes to 506,000 tonnes.
As part of efforts to improve resilience for food and nutrition security, the government has also started a feasibility study for the construction of storage infrastructure which will increase the storage capacity to 3,000,000 tonnes by 2030.
“Going by the government calculations, one ton of food is consumed by 180 people, but we want to make one ton for 20 people,” she said.
Other measures that the government has taken to improve food security include the budget increase for the Ministry of Agriculture, use of modern technology and farming equipment as well as agricultural inputs.
“We shall continue to subsidise fertilisers, in a harmonised way, this year the fertilisers will be issued through cooperative unions,” she said, asking farmers to ensure they are registered in order to get the fertilisers at a subsidised price.
For the 2023/2024, the Ministry of Agriculture has jerked up its budget to 970.7bn/- from 751bn/- of the financial year 2022/23. This is an increase of 29.24 per cent.
From the budget allocated, the ministry has planned to continue empowering youth and women by building their capacity and providing them with capital and farms equipped with irrigation infrastructure.
The ministry will also encourage establishment of large common farms to enable young people to participate in agriculture and involve the private sector.
More so, the ministry will establish a total of 1,000,000 hectares which is equal to 2,500,000 acres by 2025 to cater for the youth and women.
In another development, President Samia asked traditional chiefs to promote good deeds and proper morals among members of the community for the country to continue maintaining peace, stability as well as achieving the desirable goals.
Dr Samia equally asked the Chiefs to join efforts in praying for national unity, peace and stability for sustainable development.
“The chiefs should also educate Tanzanians to refrain from retrogressive culture that causes conflict among families and societies,” she said, assuring the government’s commitment to continue co-hosting the Bulabo Cultural Festival.
Bulabo is an annual competition of Sukuma music and dance that is held after the end of every farming season.
Earlier, at the Roman Catholic Church-owned Bujora Cultural Centre and Sukuma Museum, President Samia visited various historical sites, including the then Sukuma Chief house which features traditional drums on the top, as well as the house for traditional healing tools.
Explaining, the Museum Curator, Mr Richard Bulluma, said that Bujora was established in 1954, whereby the Sukuma people engaged iron processing technology to make various iron equipment.
President Dr Samia also toured the Catholic Church in the Museum Centre, whose shape is similar to that of the then Chief House.
Earlier, the Archbishop for Mwanza Roman Catholic Archdiocese, Renatus Nkwande, told the President that the Bujora centre was established by Missionaries, in efforts to preserve the Sukuma traditions and customs.
The Center’s Director, Priest Anania Mukanzabi, said that the Center deals with maintaining Sukuma traditions through among others, traditional songs, dances, foods, dressing and public awareness.
It also deals with artistic talent development, such as drawing, hair braiding and pottery, said the Director.
Mwanza Regional Commissioner Mr Amos Makalla, said the government has been making huge efforts to improve social services, such as the ongoing construction of JPM Kigongo-Busisi Bridge, Mwanza-Isaka Standard Gauge Railway, construction of MV Mwanza, classrooms and hospitals.