October 8, 2019
By Ibrahim Tarawallie
Minister of Agriculture and Forestry has appealed for more and timely disbursement of funds to aid their quest of attaining food self-sufficiency in the shortest possible time.
“We are constrained because what we budget we don’t get. In agriculture, we really have to invest because if we don’t, we will not be able to succeed in attaining food self-sufficiency,” Joseph Ndanema said.
In 2018, a total of 54billion was approved by the Ministry of Finance, but only 21billion was disbursed to the ministry.
Also, for the year under review, allocated budget to the ministry was Le101bilion. The ministry is asking for Le146billion for the 2020 financial year.
Minister Ndanema informed stakeholders at the bilateral budget discussions at the Miatta Conference Centre on Friday October 4, 2019, that what has been disbursed to them to date for 2019 is not up to 40% of their total budget.
He urged the finance ministry to make sure that they go all out to disburse substantial amount of whatever will be agreed upon during discussion for the 2020 financial year.
“We are working assiduously to make sure we attain food self-sufficiency which is why we have come up with a strategic plan that is aligned with the national development plan. It has giving us the task to concentrate on rice,” the minister noted.
He said their first task will be to reduce and subsequently remove the import duty for rice and in achieving that, they have embarked on specific programmes, which will be unveiled before the end of the year, targeting smallholder farmers.
Ndanema disclosed that a $275million rice project has been signed with the Sala Group to do 58,000 hectares of rice at Tormabom.
Earlier, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Fatmata Mustapha, maintained that the low disbursement rate gravely impacted the ministry’s ability to deliver on agriculture and forestry activities.
She said the ministry’s strategic focus is to increase agricultural production in the 2020 financial year, adding that they are working assiduously towards ensuring that by 2023, agricultural production is doubled by attracting and retaining large investment and supporting smallholders to move away completely from subsistence farming.
She disclosed that a total of Le302million was generated in 2018 for crops photo sanitary, livestock and forestry.
Ms. Mustapha also disclosed that only Le36billion of their 2019 approved budget, representing 36% has been disbursed to them to carry our agricultural activities.