President of the United Republic of Tanzania, His Excellency Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, says he is impressed with Jamaica’s agricultural research, and wants closer co-operation between both countries in that area.
“There is need for exchanging information and exchanging experience, and to use that experience for the benefit of our two peoples and two countries. I am impressed with the work that you are doing, and I look forward to developing closer co-operation,” President Kikwete said Tuesday (November 24).
He was speaking during a tour of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries’ Bodles Research Station, Old Harbour, St Catherine, part of the itinerary for his three-day state visit to Jamaica.
President Kikwete said that efforts are being made to transform the agriculture sector in his country, to make peasant farming more productive.
“Our preoccupation is increasing about the use water for our agriculture, meaning irrigation; the use of high yielding seeds and the challenge is about its availability, and this is where the research institution comes in,” he explained.
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton (left) and President of the United Republic of Tanzania, His Excellency Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, plant an ackee tree at the Bodles Research Centre, in St. Catherine, Tuesday (November 24), during a tour.
Jamaica’s Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, welcomed the visiting President and his delegation for the tour, and echoed the need for co-operation.
“We’re quite mindful of the fact that in Tanzania the bulk of your economic activity is in the area of agriculture,” Dr. Tufton said, noting that almost 20% of Jamaica’s labour force is involved in agriculture.
“As a consequence, we share that important variable, and we believe that we can learn from each other,” the Minister stated.
During his visit to Bodles, President Kikwete viewed exhibits of the work of the research institution, including cassava products, apiculture, plant pests and cattle.
He was presented with a copy of Dr. Thomas Phillip (T.P.) Lecky’s autobiography, “Cattle and I”. A pioneer Jamaican Scientist, Dr. Lecky’s extensive research resulted in the first breed of indigenous Jamaican cattle, the Jamaican Hope, which he used as the basis for his Ph.D. thesis. Further research resulted in the Jamaican Red, Jamaican Brahman and Jamaican Black cattle breeds.
President Kikwete’s State visit is a follow-up to a visit, earlier this year, by Tanzania’s Minister of Water and Irrigation, the Hon Mark J. Mwandosya. He will leave Jamaica on Thursday (November 26) for Trinidad and Tobago, to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Port-of-Spain.