To Reach Irrigation Target, Tanzania Needs Funding and Water Allocation
Since 2006, Tanzania has aimed to expand irrigation to one million hectares by 2020, a target reaffirmed by the Minister for Water and Irrigation in autumn last year. Currently, only five per cent — 461,000 hectares — of Tanzania’s cultivated land is irrigated, out of an estimated 29.4 million hectares available. One explanation for this is that surprisingly little attention has been paid to irrigation in Sub-Saharan African since the revival of interest in agricultural development signalled by the Maputo declaration of 2003. Public investment in much of Africa has focused instead on improving seeds and encouraging farmers to use more fertilisers. Reasons for this are not hard to find: many irrigation schemes developed in the 1960s and 1970s ran over budget and over time, encountered all manner of technical and social problems, and produced meagre returns.