Tanzania’s semi-autonomous Zanzibar archipelago will soon reduce importation of rice following increasing production of the commodity in recent years, a senior official said on Thursday.

Hamad Rashid Mohamed, Zanzibar’s Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources, Livestock, and Fisheries said that rice production has increased from 33,655 tonnes in 2013 to 39,000 tonnes, this year.

“To us, this is a very good move and soon we will reduce the amount of rice we have been importing annually,” the minister said in an interview.

“One of our aims is to ensure an increase in local rice production, at the moment we import 80 percent of total rice consumed as it is the staple food of the island.”

He explained: “Zanzibar has a good climatic condition that favors rice production, so we’re now focusing on irrigation as a means to increase rice production.”

Mohamed cited adoption of the system of rice intensification (SRI) as the secrete behind the increased rice production in the archipelago made up of Unguja and Pemba major islands with 1.4 million people.

“There are more farmers who are adopting the new rice farming techniques,” he said, adding that the aim is to produce as more rice as possible; hence stop from importing the cereal crop.

He described SRI as a redeemer to many farmers in the Indian Ocean Island as it can produce more than 10 tonnes of rice per hector.

According to him, the new drive will make the Islands has enough internal production that can sustain home consumption and meet foreign exchange earnings that can guarantee diversification of the economy.

The minister urged farmers to heavily venture into rice farming because of the readily market from the overgrowing population and the booming tourism sector in Zanzibar, which consists of several islands lying off the coast of East Africa in the Indian Ocean.

Located 32 kilometres east of the Tanzanian mainland, and six degrees south of the equator, Zanzibar was once, for the Arabic and sub-continent traders, the gateway to Africa, and, with its capital located in the Zanzibar’s stone town which possessing the world heritage site. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh


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