TANZANIA – State-owned Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank (TADB) has reaffirmed its commitment to increase funding for irrigation schemes by dishing out loans amounting to 11.48bn/- (US$4.9m) for various projects countrywide.
The regions that have so far benefitted from the irrigation scheme loans are Iringa, Dodoma, Kagera, Njombe, Tanga and Coast Region.
According to TADB Director, Mr Japhet Justine, investing in irrigation is the sure way of boosting economic growth which will lead to increasing agricultural exports as rain harvest normally faces myriads of challenges mainly due to the changing weather patterns.
It will also in turn increase farm yields by allowing two crops to be cultivated each year ensuring more consistent yields to help combats poverty and improving productivity of small farms.
Mr Japhet cited some of the farmer led 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 also highlighted 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.
Since the bank support the project, the yields shot up by ten folds from annual 5 tons harvested fours ago to 50 tons harvested this year.
Mr Japhet 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,” Japhet said.
He elaborated that the TADB intend to continue financing agriculture value chain infrastructure requirements such as improved irrigation schemes and warehouses.