State-owned Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank (TADB) has reaffirmed its commitment to increase funding for irrigation schemes and the bank has so far dished out loans amounting to 11.48bn/-for various projects countrywide.
TADB Director, Mr Japhet Justine said investing in irrigation was a sure way of helping Tanzania feed its growing population and boost economic growth by increasing agricultural exports.
He said rain harvest normally faces myriads of challenges mainly due to the changing weather patterns; this is why he said, TADB believe that irrigation is a promising way of raising agricultural productivity.
Mr Justine named regions that have so far benefitted from irrigation schemes supported by TADB’s loans as Iringa, Dodoma, Kagera, Njombe, Tanga and Coast Region.
He cited some of the farmerled irrigation scheme projects supported by funding from TADB as Dodoma based Mongolo Agri Enterprise, which has experienced increase in spices production and improved value chain.
He said irrigation can increase farm yields mightily, allowing two crops to be cultivated each year instead of one and ensuring more consistent yields to help combats poverty and improving productivity of small farms.
This, he said will in the end help boost economic growth by increasing agricultural exports.
Mr Justine also cited another successful project supported by the bank as that of avocado out growers in Mtiu village, Ludewa District, Njombe Region, saying the project was making good strides.
He said since the bank support the project, the yields have shot up by ten folds from annual 5 tons harvested fours ago to 50 tons harvested this year.
He further said that the project has helped create direct employment to hundreds of villagers and inspired more villages around Ludewa District to engage in avocado production.
Other projects supported by the bank include the Global Agency in Kagera region, “We also provide loans to help smallholder farmers be more competitive in producing and marketing staple foods like rice and maize, increase production of horticulture products (vegetables and fruits) in Iringa and Coast regions,” Justine said.
He insisted that the TADB intend to continue financing agriculture value chain infrastructure requirements such as improved irrigation schemes and warehouses.