A recent report released by Tanzanian Government reveals that the country losses USD 96.6 Mn annually due to drought.
The Country Synthesis Report 2018 was prepared by experts under the Australian-funded Sustainable Intensification of Maize-Legume Cropping Systems for Food Security in Eastern and Southern Africa (Simlesa) losses which accounts for 1.65 percent of the Gross Domestic Produce.
The report further discloses that the total annual losses are 306,805 tonnes, with maize accounting for 246,823 tonnes and legumes 59,892 tonnes. This translates to 1.65 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP); 0.96 per cent for maize and 0.69 per cent legumes.
Findings of the report were made public recently during the unveiling of conservation agriculture technologies according to a report by a Tanzanian tabloid.
Researchers of the project pointed out that the productivity of maize and legumes have remained relatively low: 1.2 tonnes per hectare for maize while legumes was 0.38 ha.
Local Coordinator, Simlesa, Dr. John Sariah divulges that conservation agriculture for sustainable intensification (Casi) technologies was one of the technologies that have been tested in a bid to curb low productivity.
John remains optimistic that the integration of technology in the national agricultural extension systems will see an increment in yields.
Since 2013, the project has been implemented in five African countries namely Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Malawi and Mozambique.
The project’s aim is to expand farm-level food security and output through innovating better resilient systems, including conservation techniques.
Experts say full implementation of the project will see a rise in the yields to an estimated 4.5 tonnes per ha for maize and 1.4 tonnes per ha for legumes.
Maize which is Tanzania’s most valuable food crop is relied on by 80 percent of its population. It occupies 45 percent of cultivated land in Tanzania. The country is the leading maize producer in East Africa.
Despite being the largest maize producer in East Africa and 25 in the world, the country faces challenges in achieving full potential. Trade policies by the Tanzanian government, as well as bureaucratic hurdles, remain the major limitations facing the sector of maize growth.
The article was first published by thecitizen.co.tz
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