Experts push for commercial farming

Agriculture experts have underscored the need to implement commercial farming to ensure it never sidelines small-holder farmers.

This was said on Wednesday in Dar es Salaam by Dr Damian Gabagambi, an agricultural economist from Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) at the second National Reference Group (NRG) meeting on Understanding Linkages and Stakeholders Experience.

The NRG meeting saw an urgency to develop an understanding of how climate change, food security and trade interact and build the capacity of all relevant stakeholders to develop and implement holistic responses.

“The idea to invite large scale investors on agriculture farming was good and if implemented rightly it would definitely transform farming activities to contribute significantly to country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is still below 30 per cent despite employing at least 80 per cent of the population,” he said.

Dr Gabagambi cited the growing unhealthy relation among the Mtibwa sugarcane producers where large producers supply their produce first before purchasing those of the small holders.

Apart from the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the parties, the trend suggests that in the long run, large scale investors will be able to meet the factory’s demands without depending on small holder sugarcane producers.

He similarly challenged state and non-state actors to take time introducing the Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) because is a new culture to the Tanzanian farmers, otherwise it would ruin agriculture activities.

Dr Gabagambi also said it was high time for the public and private stakeholders to take climate change as an opportunity to transform people’s lives by improving agriculture farming through use of irrigation schemes instead of dependency on rainfall.

Clarifying various issues raised by participants, Dr Gratian Bamwenda said there was need for the government to closely observe large-scale investors to support small holder farmers in terms of technology and markets.

He called for technology improvement on weather forecast to ensure it provides clear and accurate information to farmers who have been incurring losses for keeping on trying again and again to plant seeds without knowing exactly the beginning of the rain season.

According to the Country Study Findings on Linkages, farmers in the regions like Tabora and Kigoma were keeping on trying to plant seeds as a way of presuming the start of the rain season due to lack of accurate weather information.

The national network, which represented all relevant stakeholders from the government, the business, farming communities, CSOs and media, is committed to making East African policy making processes more inclusive in addressing climate-related hunger through trade.

With the increase in the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events due to climate change, agricultural and trade patterns in the EAC are drastically changing. This is resulting in additional large-scale hunger in the region.

Harnessing the potential of trade by putting in place appropriate policies to ensure affordable food for millions of people is the need of the hour.
Source:The Daily News,http://www.dailynews.co.tz, reported by Sebastian Mrindoko
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