President Samia Suluhu Hassan said yesterday that funds for agricultural projects must be spent wisely.
She made the remark while launching the Building a Better Tomorrow (BBT) program’s block farms.
The first phase of the BBT programme involves 812 youth who will receive four months of modern farming training.
The youth will then be assigned ten acres that have been cleared, planted, and have irrigation infrastructure installed.
The youth will also be eligible for membership in the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), and their farms will be insured by the National Insurance Corporation (NIC).
President Hassan directed Agriculture Minister Hussein Bashe to oversee the prudent expenditure of government funds during the live televised function.
“I will not tolerate any misuse of taxpayers’ money allocated to the sector. As you mentioned, I’d like to see every shilling directed towards the sector produce the desired results.
“Despite the good things that have been done, you should work closely with your colleagues to ensure more good results. “After approving your idea, I provided you with equipment, manpower, and funds,” she added.
President Hassan stated that there was no reason for the programme to fail and called for the formation of a ministerial committee to ensure the program’s efficient execution.
My intention is to achieve success in this programme because, after beginning with budgetary allocations, we are prepared to continue increasing funds in the coming years,” she said.
The programme, according to the Head of State, aims to increase crop farming’s contribution to the national economy to at least 10% by 2030.
“You go and practise agribusiness because in today’s world food crops are no longer differentiated from cash crops such as rice, maize, onions and others. “They’re all profitable,” she told the teenager.
In welcoming President Hassan, Mr Bashe stated that some Tanzanians are sceptical about the sustainability of block farms, despite evidence that they can have a significant impact elsewhere.
In 1963/64, Tanzania and Malaysia were almost economically equal, according to him.
“But Tanzania established state-operated block farms, while Malaysia handed an average of 4.1 acres to individual citizens. As a result, Tanzania’s productivity fell, while Malaysia is now feeding the world, including Tanzania,” he explained.
Mr Bashe went on to say that his docket has established a grant and soft loan window that has received Sh3 billion in investment in 2022/23, with another Sh10 billion planned for the following fiscal year.
He also stated that NMB Bank recently issued Sh20 billion for the window.
“We are building a grape processing plant with a capacity of 15 tonnes per day and 100,000 litres. “The factory will be given to the private sector for operation, with the government receiving leasing fees,” he said.
Several contracts, he said, were signed yesterday to conduct detailed design and feasibility studies on 33 basins totalling 317,000 hectares, including Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika, and the Julius Nyerere Hydropower Project (JNHPP) downstream.
Previously, the National Irrigation Commission (NiRC) signed contracts with private companies to carry out 22 projects totalling Sh149.143 billion.
The projects aimed at dam construction and irrigation infrastructure rehabilitation.