Gm Crops

Tanzania needs to diversify its agricultural crops portfolio and train smallholder farmers on modern, resilient farming methods for it to beat malnutrition and attain food security, a senior World Food Programme (WFP) official said Thursday.

Lola Castro, WFP regional director for Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean States, said that Tanzania has the potential to become a food basket for the region, but the main challenge is a lack of adherence to the diversification of crops.

“This could cause most parts of the country to be simultaneously hit by hunger in case a severe drought occurs,” Castro said in an interview.

“Famers should be told to grow varieties of crops, especially those that can withstand drought, but currently the main focus is only on maize and beans,” she said, adding: “There is a need for combined efforts to make the farmers understand the importance of diversification as well as put a special focus on the quality of what they produce.”

The WFP regional chief, who was on a three-day visit to the country, said Tanzania is doing fine in combating chronic malnutrition through engaging small-scale farmers.

She said the aim is to end malnutrition and stunting by the year 2021 when implementation of the current Country Strategic Plan (CSP) winds down. Enditem

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