This post was originally published by The National News Paper (Daily News) on Sunday, 12 August 2018. To access the full article, visit here.
PRESIDENT John Magufuli has honoured his pledge of providing ten tractors to Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), to enable the institution produce competent experts in the field of agriculture.
The tractors worth 587.5m/- were handed over to the university yesterday by the Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Mr Doto James in Kibaha, Coast Region on behalf of the President.
The PS said that the institution has been provided with the tractors as part of the government’s efforts towards transforming agriculture which employs majority of Tanzanians.
Mr James said that the tractors were an accomplishment of the promise made by President Magufuli during his impromptu visit to SUA headquarters in Morogoro Region in May, this year.
He called upon the university to make proper use of the tractors, noting that the government will make follow ups through the Ministry of Finance and Planning which monitors various development projects for institutions, funded by the government.
He said the institution should use expertise, knowledge and research findings to generate its income, produce competent qualified agricultural graduates who will not only become competent farmers, but also help in improving agricultural production in the country.
The PS also revealed that his office has already paid 2bn/- to SUA that was also promised by the President to mitigate students' accommodation needs by constructing more hostels.
SUA Vice-Chancellor, Professor Raphael Chibunda commended the President saying that his university will use the tractors for intended purposes and assured their safety, since the institution has already prepared a good parking lot for them and that it has got enough experienced experts for maintaining and servicing them.
The handover ceremony took place at Tractor Assembly Plant located in Kibaha District run by the National Development Corporation (NDC). They are assembled by Tanzanian engineers in collaboration with their counterparts from Poland.
According to the NDC Director General, Professor Damian Gabagambi, the tractors are durable and meet all required standards. He said that they are sold at affordable prices, with loan incentives where even poor Tanzanians can access them.
There are more tractors and we (NDC) have set eight sales and assembling centres in Dodoma, Lindi, Simiyu, Geita, Katavi, Njombe and Manyara to reach more farmers in the country.
The Director General also revealed that his office is planning to work with different stakeholders from private and public sectors in repairing the tractors and that his office will have a total of 23 engineers by the end of this year, who have received technical knowledge in Poland.
The tractors are provided through a soft loan from Poland government and are supplied by URSUS SA Company from the same country.
Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank (TADB) Acting Managing Director, Mr Japhet Justine said his bank was determined to transform farmers from hand hoe agriculture to mechanised farming.
He called upon farmers to utilise the bank through accessing loans which will enable them to engage in modern agriculture.
During his official tour of Morogoro Region, President Magufuli visited SUA and he was informed that the institution was facing a major challenge of tractors and lack of students’ hostels, a situation that affected provision of education at the university.
The President pledged to provide the institution with tractors and funds for the construction of the hostel.