Tanzania Daily News Dar es Salaam Sylivester Domasa
Displayed with permission from allAfrica.com

The government assured yesterday that it is well prepared to restrain greenhouse gas emissions from affecting farming and food systems in the country.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Florens Turuka said in Dar es Salaam that the government has already adopted climatesmart practices and agriculture climate resilience plan to reduce food loss and greenhouse gas emissions.

The government statement came amid a warning by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) about an unprecedented double challenge faced, “eradicating hunger and poverty and stabilisation of global climate before it’s too late.”

Launching the 2016 State of Food and Agriculture report at the Ministry, the PS said the government has already prepared Agriculture Sector Development Programme (ASDP) phase II, noting that the plan which remains on paper has already attracted 22 development partners interested on financing its execution.

The government figures show that the country continued performing well in food productivity, recording a 23 per cent production surplus last year, with total yield of 16 million metric tons. “The country’s actual food demand is 13 million metric tonnes.

We have over 3 million surplus tonnes of food,” he said. Yet, there 43 councils, including Simiyu and Arusha, which were seriously hit by food shortage. The number appears to have declined from 69 councils which were affected in the previous season.

Explaining on the budget allocation that has been dropping consecutively in the last five years, Mr Turuka was optimistic that the government will continue allocating sufficient fund to finance the agricultural sector.

“We are planning to improve industrial contribution in the national economy and this means concerted efforts to improve agricultural sector are inevitable to attain the (industrial) goal,” he said.

The PS said the ministry was also working around the clock to address a depredating soil texture. “Disease resistance is also high, leading to productivity decline…we are committed to overcome these barriers and others that threaten farmers.”

A glowing demand for food in Tanzania is attributable to increasing population, rapid urbanisation and improved incomes. Presenting FAO report, the organisation’s Country Representative, Mr Fred Kafeero, said there is an urgent need to support smallholder farmers to adapt to climate change.

He explained that farmers, fishers and forest communities depend on activities that are linked to climate and they are most vulnerable to climate change.

“To withstand climate change effects, they will require access to technologies, markets, information and credit facilities to adjust their production systems and practices,” he said, adding, “Smallholder farmers however still face many hurdles in accessing financing for new technologies and practices,” Mr Kafeero added.

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