Tanzania’s government invests in irrigation farming programmes in order to expand the country’s food basket.

The government plans to invest in irrigation farming covering 11,700 hectares surrounding the Ngono River Basin in Kagera Region over the next five years, a project that will assist the country have enough food reserves.

According to Hussein Bashe, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Kagera is a crucial region for agriculture because it borders four other nations with agribusiness potential. “At the same time, the Kagera region is the main selling centre for various agricultural products in South Sudan,” the deputy minister noted.

He stated that the project proposal had previously been written and given to development partners, and that talks to raise finances for the project’s implementation were still ongoing.

Mr Bashe was responding to a question from Dr Oscar Kikoyo (CCM), a member from Muleba South, who wanted to know when the government will use the Ngono River Basin for irrigated farming.

On the development of that river basin, he stated that during the 2018/2019 financial year, the government performed a feasibility study in the Misenyi and Bukoba Rural districts, finding 11,700 hectares of virgin land that could be used for irrigated farming.

“The government has already taken strong measures to develop the Ngono River Basin, beginning with the construction of the Kalebe-Multi-Purpose Dam, which has a capacity of 268 cubic metres, enough to irrigate all 11,700 hectors,” he stated.

Apart from irrigation, the Kalebe dam is projected to aid in the generation of energy, the production of water for pastoralism, fishing, and flood management, according to the deputy minister.

The minister stated that the government was now ensuring that all ongoing projects were completed in order to ensure that various irrigation systems were completed.

He also stated that the government was now conducting an assessment of finished projects in order to discover all flaws that were causing inefficiencies in production.