Inject resources into irrigated agriculture


Inject resources into irrigated agriculture. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The agriculture sector, despite the negative growth in the past two years, remains the backbone of the country’s job market, employing more people than any other sector.

Looking at the just-released data from the Economic Survey 2023, the sector emerged as the most ailing in an economy that is recovering from the recession of 2020, albeit hampered by new global shocks.

Addressing the problems facing the sector will require both short- and long-term measures, especially around the perennial issues of low productivity and dependence on rain for irrigation of farmland.

While the government has moved to address the soil productivity issue by lowering the cost of fertiliser, it is instructive that the decline since 2020 has largely been blamed on drought, which can only be addressed by a comprehensive shift to irrigation-led farming.

Resources must therefore be put into developing viable irrigation schemes and plans, using existing reservoirs and river systems, and new dams.

Moving agriculture into an irrigation-led, mechanised future is the way to protect the jobs this vital sector supports.