Tanzania: 78bn/- vouchers given to farmers as subsidy

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives has during the 2015/16 financial year distributed over 2.9 million agriculture subsidy vouchers worth over 78bn/- to 999,926 maize and rice farmers throughout the country except Dar es Salaam Region.

In addition, the 99,993 tonnes of fertilisers will be subsidized at the rate of 32,000/- to 35,000/- for a 50kg bag of planting fertiliser and 23,000 to 25,000/- for a 50kg bag of sowing fertiliser.

The Director of Crops Development in the ministry, Mr Twahil Nzalawahe, told reporters in Dar es Salaam that said the move is in line with strategic goals identified in the ‘Kilimo Kwanza’ (Agriculture First) and ‘Green Revolution’ policies.

“In this scheme, farmers will be given agriculture inputs for one acre of either maize or rice while the government would contribute 50 per cent of market price for each input,” he said, adding that the fertiliser is being distributed by 23 top companies while seeds are supplied by 27 companies.

He said the implementation process has been divided into six (6), levels starting from the ministry itself to the national agriculture voucher input committees at all levels--region, district, ward and village councils.

According to Mr Nzalawahe, all levels are also responsible to provide farmers with public education on agriculture inputs administration, to identify the beneficiary communities as well as monitor and supervise voucher scheme processes.

This system was introduced across the country in 2008/2009 and went on to 2013/14 through partnership with private companies-- with the focus to help farmers to boost productivity through its ‘Kilimo Kwanza’ initiative.

“In most cases, selected farmer would get a bag of 50 kg of sowing fertiliser, seed and another bag of 50 kgs of fertiliser at half price of the market value since the government covers the remaining half of the market price,” he explained.

The director said that in implementing the system, the government has designed special arrangement with farm input agents who upon delivering the agricultural input to the needy,selected farmer was required to submit the voucher to such agent, including a certain amount of money to top up the difference.

Mr Nzalawahe went on to say that through voucher schemes, farmers have managed to increase food production to such an extent that in the 2008/9 financial year, production grew by 103 per cent, 2013/14 (118 per cent) and 125 per cent in the 2014/15.

“This increment is the result of good understanding by farmers and other agriculture stakeholders, ensuring food security in the country,” he added.
Source: Daily News, reported by Deogratius Kamagi, from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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