Production trends of food crops: opportunities, challenges and prospects to improve Tanzanian rural livelihoods

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Natural Resources and Conservation


Tanzanian agriculture employs about 80% of the national labour force and most of these are rural dwellers. The country has about 44 million hectares of arable land but less than 24% of the area has been harnessed. Similarly, the country has inland rivers, lakes and other water bodies that could supply water for irrigation, however only 2% of the irrigation potential has been exploited. Here we reviewed 54 scientific publications on potentials, challenges and prospects of agriculture in the country and found that; its production trend has been fluctuating over time in a decreasing manner. Tanzania Agricultural Policy aims at stimulating agricultural growth from 3.6% to at least 6%. However, inadequate market systems, transportation and storage infrastructures among others things, have been the major hindrances to make agriculture a commercial industry. On top of that, the adverse impacts of climate change have exacerbated the situation. Similarly, lack of political willingness and shortage of capital for agricultural investment have increased the magnitude of the problem. This paper highlights on the opportunities, challenges and prospects of agriculture with the aim of transforming it from subsistence to commercial farming. Therefore, to increase agricultural productivity and transform the sector to commercial industry; innovative strategies and technologies with great political willingness of the government are urgently needed to address both natural and man-made challenges facing the sector.


Natural Resources and Conservation 4(4): 51-59


Potential agricultural regions, Soil fertility, Tanzania, Food crops, Irrigation potential