The media in Tanzania has been criticized for not doing enough to cover the agriculture sector, especially in promoting information that would help players harness opportunities that could help to spur growth.
This has been in spite of government efforts – especially through Kilimo Kwanza – to promote and enhance the growth of agriculture.The criticism was leveled by the executive director of Agricultural Council of Tanzania (ACT), Ms. Janet Bitegeko, in Dar es Salaam arguing that the lack of in-depth and analytical reporting on agriculture contributed to making the society remain in the dark.
Ms. Bitegeko said if the media were to cooperate with ACT, more information would reach agriculture stakeholders at the right time to enable them to make the right decisions including turning the sector into a commercial one, the results of which would help improve living standards.
“ACT seeks to partner with the media to assist in tapping into the expansive opportunities that exist in the sector, both in terms of information dissemination and monetary gain,” said Ms. Bitegeko.
In efforts to attain this goal, ACT met with editors and reporters in Dar es Salaam recently in a bid to discuss ways forward for the purpose of disseminating information to the society.During the meeting, the media practitioners were urged to move out to rural areas instead of merely writing stories based on press conferences and workshops.
One area that needed a lot of reporting was statistical data on agriculture. Ms. Bitegeko said for instance that the government imports more than 300,000 tonnes of edible oil while with the proper investment it was possible for the country to produce her own.
She said the Council has played a big role in advocating for an increment of the agriculture budget to the current 10 percent up from 7.7 percent of the national budget.
She outlined the challenges still facing the sector as including low investment, poor road infrastructure, deteriorating natural resources and inadequate financial assistance.