TANZANIA- The Tanzanian government is making substantial strides toward realizing its goal of seed self-sufficiency by 2030 as it establishes major irrigation schemes to enhance seed production for all farmers nationwide.

One such project is the ‘Samia Block Farm’ irrigation scheme in Nzega District, Tabora Region. This innovative initiative will draw its water supply from the Kilimi Dam, utilizing a sophisticated irrigation system, including the automated pivot system.

The Minister for Agriculture, Mr Hussein Bashe, announced this during a briefing with President Samia Suluhu Hassan during her official working visit to the region. 

The project, for which the government has allocated 6.2 billion Tanzanian shillings for the completion of its first phase, received the official foundation stone laying by President Samia.

Mr. Bashe disclosed that the project spans an area of approximately 1,100 hectares. It encompasses 140 hectares for water catchment, 97 hectares reserved for the dam area, and approximately 860 hectares designated for farming. 

The ongoing execution of the project is currently at its first phase, focusing on 400 hectares, with plans to install seven pivots.

The irrigation pivot system is a mechanized and pressurized water irrigation method designed to optimize water usage and crop yields.

As Mr. Bashe further outlined, Tanzania’s current seed demand stands at 120,000 tonnes, while the country’s production capacity is 40,000, leaving a substantial gap of 20,000 tonnes that must be imported.

We expect to meet 75 percent of total seed demand by 2025 and 100 percent by 2030,” Mr. Bashe emphasized.

The Samia Block Farm is anticipated to contribute to year-round seed production, complementing similar schemes across the country, including another one in Arumeru District, Arusha Region.

The Minister also disclosed that the government plans to construct a processing facility for seeds cultivated at the farm. This facility will facilitate the supply of seeds to farmers, aiding them in enhancing their agricultural productivity.

Mr. Bashe underscored that Tanzania needs approximately 300,000 hectares of land to realize seed self-sufficiency. Presently, the country has 34,000 hectares available for these purposes, with the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TIRA) and the Agricultural Seed Agency (ASA) each managing 17,000 hectares.

He called upon Regional Commissioners (RCs) to identify suitable areas for establishing irrigation schemes, ensuring the country meets its target of seed self-sufficiency by 2030.

Moreover, Mr. Bashe highlighted that the irrigation scheme in Nzega is being implemented by a local company known as Pro Agro Global, demonstrating the government’s commitment to bolstering its strategic farming projects, providing opportunities for skill development, and generating employment for Tanzanian citizens. 

This collaboration aims to boost agricultural productivity and contribute to Tanzania’s food security and self-reliance in seed production.