Speaking to journalists and rice experts from NIRC who visited the Dakawa irrigation schemes, the farmers commended the irrigation commission saying through the project their welfare has been improved since they harvest enough for food and business.
Chairman of the association of small scale paddy farmers at the Dakawa irrigation scheme, Thomas Kakema said before the establishment of the scheme most of the residents were struggling to meet their daily needs.
He noted that with the scheme in place , most of them can afford meals and have constructed better houses. He said that farmers have move from traditional to commercial framing with higher harvesting targets.
“Framers can also access agricultural loans from various financial institutions and banks. Some have been able to secure loans for the purchase of tractors and harvesting machines”, said Kakema.
According to him, establishment of the Dakawa irrigation scheme has opened- up employment opportunities to young Tanzanians from Mvomero and other districts. He said most of the youth have started small businesses with capital generated from paddy farming.
Earlier, Mvomero District Executive Director, Florent Kyombo said the various government initiatives undertaken to improve rice cultivation in the area have boosted farmers’ income and improved their welfare.
He said the initiatives implemented through NIRC have resulted into increased rice production to 6.5 tonnes compared to 2 tonnes which were produced previously.
He attributed the improvements in rice production to reliable availability of water and reduced production cost. He said contrary to previous years, water reaches the farms at the right time. He said farmers can now easily access agricultural inputs as well as improved extension services.
“The commission has improved farm infrastructures and ensure close supervision of the farms by experts”, he noted.
Kakema said the improved yields ensure food security in the district and surrounding regions.
Mvomero has a total of 11 functioning irrigation schemes, he said.