Extension officers across Tanzania have received a call to amplify their advisory services, marking a crucial step towards the government’s ambition to transform the nation into a food-sufficient powerhouse and Africa’s primary food basket.
The appeal came from Professor Riziki Shemdoe, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development, during the 2023 Annual General Meeting and Conference of the Tanzania Society of Agricultural Education and Extension (TSAEE) in Dodoma.
Addressing the two-day session, Prof. Shemdoe emphasized the pivotal role of efficient extension services in the agriculture, fisheries, and livestock sectors, all of which significantly contribute to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). He stressed, “Our country is making every effort to transform its economy into a middle-income status, and these three sectors are paramount. Without reliable extension services, productivity shall always remain low.”
Extension officers play a critical role in advising farmers, businesses, rural industries, and government entities on best practices for agricultural production, processing, and distribution. Prof. Shemdoe highlighted the need for improved agricultural techniques and urged extension officers to provide on-the-ground advisory services by visiting farmers.
He reiterated the government’s vision to make Tanzania a food-sufficient nation and a major food supplier for the continent and the world. President Samia Suluhu Hassan had previously outlined initiatives taken by the government to achieve food sufficiency, including investments in research, international market expansion, climate-resilient irrigation infrastructure, and fostering private sector involvement in the agricultural value chain.
The Chairperson of TSAEE, Professor Catherine Msuya, commended the collaboration between the government and TSAEE. The conference, held under the theme “The Role of Agricultural Extension in Enhancing Gender Responsive Climate Smart Agriculture for Transformation of Agri-food Systems in Tanzania,” brought together youth and women to explore strategies for intensifying extension services in the country.
Prof. Msuya, also a senior lecturer at the Department of Agricultural Extension and Community Development at Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), emphasized the importance of gender-responsive and climate-smart agricultural practices for transforming agri-food systems in Tanzania.