"Those going for family planning are lazy ... they are afraid they will not be able to feed their children. They do not want to work hard to feed a large family and that is why they opt for birth controls and end up with one or two children only," he said at a public rally in Meatu on Sunday.
Magufuli, who has two children, said it was "important to reproduce" and warned Tanzanians against what he said was bad advice provided by outsiders.
"I have travelled to Europe and elsewhere and have seen the harmful effects of birth control. Some countries are now facing declining population growth. They are short on manpower."
"You have cattle. You are big farmers. You can feed your children. Why then resort to birth control?" he asked. "This is my opinion; I see no reason to control births in Tanzania".
Women’s rights campaigners have expressed outrage after the Tanzanian president said there is no need for birth control. “It’s a statement by a sitting head of state at a time when Tanzania takes every statement that he issues to be law,” said Judy Gitau, regional coordinator for Africafor the charity Equality Now. “From past experiences whenever the president issues a statement on a given issue, in practice it becomes policy, and so we can expect ramifications.”
Petrider Paul, a gender equality activist, said the president’s comments could be used to further undermine women’s reproductive rights. “The whole issue of contraception in Tanzania is a man’s decision. A woman cannot make her own decision to use contraceptives without the approval of the man,” said Paul. “Most men will be boastful: ‘The president has said this; we should keep producing more children. Why should we use birth control?’.”
Tanzania has ratified the Maputo Protocol, which states that women have the right to control their fertility and chose any method of contraception.