The humble banana, one of the staple foods in East Africa, is under threat from a fungal disease. Kagera region in Tanzania and Luwero districts in Uganda are the most affected areas, according to a recent survey. "The disease is well established and more widespread than previously thought", they warned.
Scientists at the Institute of Agricultural Research in Mikocheni, Tanzania, have called for urgent measures to be taken to fight the Asian Citrus Psyllid. The insect, which attacks citrus fruit trees has already been reported in places including India, South-East Asia, Saudi Arabia, the Arabian Gulf and Madagascar, but was identified for the first time in Tanzania in 2015.
Tanzania's country head of the Alliance for A Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), has called for greater adoption of technology in agriculture for smallholder farmers. Dr Mary Mgonja, made the call while addressing a joint press conference on Sunday 7 August in Mbeya. She said she was optimistic about the future of agriculture in Tanzania as the best means available to lift millions of smallholder farmers from poverty. AGRA in Tanzania has invested in key programmes along the food value chains to develop practical solutions to significantly boost farm productivity and incomes for the poor while safeguarding the environment.
Plans are underway to draw up an insurance strategy on agriculture in Tanzania. Meeting of insurance stakeholders was recently conducted to discuss the strategy.It is hoped that by having the strategy, agriculture will be stimulated. Agriculture is Tanzania's economy mainstay, accounting for nearly 30 per cent of the gross domestic product. Sixty-seven per cent of the workforce was employed in the sector in 2014. Most Tanzanian farmers are smallholders; few families cultivate more than two hectares.
Tanzania is gearing up efforts for a strategy that will extend insurance coverage to agriculture sector. The idea is to ensure farmers get covered so that they cut down the amount of loss they tend to incurs in the event of calamities such as floods and drought. Farmers put a lot effort, yet they often end up frustrated when their produce is hit by disasters at the late stage. The experts say that, since rains have been largely unreliable mainly due to global warming and climate change, small-scale farmers have often seen their efforts go to waste.
AGRICULTURAL sector is vital for ensuring food security and alleviation of rural poverty. Emergence of agricultural crop pests and diseases causes socio-economic implications in the country. The Controller and Auditor General (CAG), Prof Mussa Assad, decided to conduct a performance audit to assess the extent to which the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries and the President’s Office-Regional Administration and Local Government have implemented strategies for managing agricultural crop pests and diseases outbreaks in the country.
Agriiculture experts have suggested that since small-scale farmers are dependent on rain-fed farming they should have their crops insured against calamities brought on by unfriendly weather which include droughts and destructive floods. The experts say that since rains have been largely unreliable in the last few years mainly due to global warming and climate change small-scale farmers have often see their efforts go to waste and a life-threatening famine zoom in. Insurance cover can cushion off looming hunger when subsistence farmers lose their crops. Unfriendly weather phenomena, however, are not the only enemies that worry farmers.
Scientists and researchers have expressed their concern about the recent upsurge in the number of whiteflies; the tiny, sap-sucking insects that destroy important crops and vegetables such as beans, cassava and sweet potato. The whitefly spreads diseases to important crops very swiftly, a situation which, if not urgently controlled, efforts to ensure sustainable food security and thus reduce poverty in rural areas will end up in vain. Early this week, scientists, researchers and the private sector from across the world met in Arusha, Tanzania, to foster research and education around a broad range of whitefly-related topics of local, national and global interest.
The ideal situation is that growth in insurance coverage should not lag too far behind economic growth. Commissioner of Insurance and Chief Executive Officer of the Tanzania Insurance Regulatory Authority (TIRA) said low level of penetration and awareness of insurance is attributed to both cultural and historical factors. Despite the fact that insurance industry has been growing at a healthy rate of over 20 per cent annually for over a decade, its penetration level is just 1 per cent of the country’s GDP against the world average of 2.3 per cent.
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