Tanzania: Rufiji scheme to transform farming

Photo: Greenpeace Africa
Tanzania Daily News | 6 December 2016
Tanzania: Rufiji scheme to transform farming
Rufiji — A multi-billion-shilling irrigation scheme geared towards agricultural development has scored notable achievement in the Rufiji River Basin. Residents of Chumbi A, B and C villages in Rufiji District, Coast Region, commended the achievements in transforming the area into one of the country's major rice, maize and cassava producing zones.
Speaking in an interview, Samy Mohamed Elazed, Executive Director of the Kuwait-based company, Africa Relief Organisation, financiers of the project, said his organisation has released 3bn/- to finance cultivation of 300 acres of rice this season alone at the new Rufiji irrigation belt.
He said the project would cover over 2,500 acres in the coming seasons, with multibillion dollars injected to facilitate modern agricultural technology in mechanization.
The focus will be production of rice, maize, cassava and sesame, according to African Relief Board of Trustees Chairman Sheikh Abdallah Ndauga.
Addressing villagers and journalists at the newly mechanised plantation in the basin, Ndauga said the grand agricultural project is expected to make Coast Region a green belt for agro-products and top in the list of grain producing areas in the country.
He said the district authorities and villagers offered 300 acres of land to start the state-of-the-art agri-business that would shift the district's economy to be the food basket and improving living standards of the people.
Addressing villagers at Chumbi C early this month, Rufiji District Commissioner (DC), Juma Njwayo, said the project will provide the locals with technical support which is the only limited potential for sustainable forms of agriculture and food shortages in the country.
"We are happy that Africa Relief has pushed over three billion shillings into this project. I believe this will transform by far our traditional activities, mainly crop cultivation, fishing, timber harvesting and livestock keeping directly or indirectly," he said.
Speaking on the achievements, the Director of Chumbi Agriculture, Juma Iddy, said the project was intended to turn the area the national food hub. "We are in the process of transforming the area into one of the country's major food baskets.
The focus is on cassava and rice," he said. The project had also been supported and graced by the Rufiji Basin Development Authority (RUBADA) which will ensure adequate flow of water from River Rufiji.
The Operations Director for Chumbi Agriculture Abdallah Issa, said the project has already acquired 300 hectares of land that will undergo modern agricultural mechanisation starting from this month.
"Modern agriculture heavily needs both financial and technological resources to catch-up with the increasing demand for food," said Sammy Elazeb, flanked by his co-directors Othman Kapori and Abdalah Salehe Ramadhan.
Chumbi C village chairman, Salum Athuman Mtimbuko, said the villagers were excited by the project and were ready to cooperate with the organisation in transforming agriculture in their villages.


The Citizen | 6 December 2016

Dar es Salaam — The African Relief Organisation is investing Sh3 billion on the first phase of its irrigation project on the Rufiji Basin, the company announced yesterday.
The organisation is discussing with the Rufiji Basin Development Authority (Rubada) to implement the project which is scheduled to start this farming season, according to the chairman for the organisation's board of trustees, Sheikh Abdallah Ndauga.
The amount to be injected into the project includes costs for the construction of 1.5 kilometres of irrigation infrastructure through which water will flow from the river basin to the project area.
The entire project covers an area of 2,500 hectares at Chumbi C Village in Rufiji district. According to Sheikh Ndauga, actual development will be conducted into phases of which the first one will involve normal cultivation on 200 hectares.
"The second phase, which will involve actual irrigation, will only become operational when Rubada finally approves the project," he said. Ninety per cent of the people to be employed at the project will be locals.
"This is a big project. We will start by growing crops that will suit the normal rainy season like rice, maize, vegetables and other crops. The aim is to increase the affordability of food in this country and sell the rest outside the country... .Our utmost goal is to cultivate a total of one million hectares in different parts of the country," he said.
He also said that his organization has been involved in social issues and is determined to focus on agriculture as it seeks to play an increasingly important role in creating an economically independent Tanzania as envisioned by President John Magufuli.
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