The Government of Japan has donated 6,003.6 tons of DAP fertilizer worth Tanzanian Shillings 7.3 billion to the Government of Tanzania. This assistance is coming when the country is determined to turn around Tanzanian agriculture through intensification which entails use of inputs such as fertilizers and improved seeds.
This assistance comes as good news to Tanzanian small scale farmers that the mineral fertilizer received under this bilateral arrangement between the two countries will contribute to the efforts of eliminating some of the challenges to bring about food crop production and productivity in the country.
Speaking at the handover ceremony, Eng. Christopher Kajoro Chiza, the Minister for Agriculture Food Security and Cooperatives, said that, the Tanzanian farmers face several challenges.
“Small holder food crop production and productivity in Tanzania has remained low due to many challenges facing agricultural development in the country; these challenges include inaccessibility to agricultural inputs” the Minister said.
Through additional use of fertilizers, Tanzania can immensely increase crop production particularly cereals such as rice, maize and sorghum. These crops are important staples dependent upon to meet the domestic food requirements and production of surplus for export in the East and Central African region.
Current data show that cereals production in Tanzania reached 6.8 million tons in 2012 cropping season which fall short of the national demand of 7.2 million tons. The deficit of 0.4 million tons of cereals can be offset by additional use of inputs such as fertilizers coupled with other agronomic packages.
Mr. Masaki Okada, the Ambassador of Japan in Tanzania, who was present at the hand-over ceremony, said that, the Government of Japan is in the forefront to support the efforts of the Government of Tanzania to increase food production and productivity.
He further said that, Aid for the Increase of Food Production –popularly known as KR II program, which started way back in 1978, has assisted Tanzania to address some of the agricultural challenges.
“Since 2010, when the KR II program was reviewed to be known as Grant assistance for food security project for underprivileged farmers (or 2KR) also provided 5,953 tons of DAP fertilizers in 2011”, said Mr. Masaki Okada.
The Government of Japan also supports Tanzania agricultural development initiatives such as Agricultural Sector Development Program (ASDP), and the development of the National Rice Development Strategy for increasing rice production and productivity in the country.
The Minister, Eng. Chiza, thanked the Government of Japan for being so committed in the development agenda of Tanzanians. In a note of appreciation, the Minister Chiza said, “we envisage that the Government of Japan will still be willing to support Tanzania in the implementation of the Rice Development Strategy in – developing improved high yielding varieties; development of improved post harvest processing technologies; value addition processes; labour saving technologies and construction of more irrigation infrastructures.
This areas will certainly enable us to achieve the Big Result Now initiatives”. Highlighting the impacts of past assistance from Japan under KR II, Minister Chiza said that, between 1992 and 2010, over 24.3 billion shillings was received from the sales of commodities received from Japan. The funds were used to finance over 186 development projects in Tanzania. These projects include those that have wider social economic impact such as agriculture, education, health, feeder roads and domestic water supply.
The funds to be generated from the sale of the DAP fertilizer will else well be used to finance social economic development projects particularly those focusing the underprivileged farmers to improve agricultural production, farm to market infrastructures and domestic water supply. These areas are those agreed upon by the two governments.