Tanzania: Wheat production receives boost following new development

The Tanzanian government has come to a compromise with large scale wheat millers to enhance the crop, assenting to a price of TZS800 per kilogram of raw wheat.

The government also ordered investors in charge of state wheat farms to resume production in large scale or exit the plantations.

Minister of Agriculture, Prof Adolf Mkenda who revealed this said that the private sector and large scale millers, including the Tanzania Breweries Limited (TBL) and Serengeti Breweries Limited SBL) will now purchase wheat from local producers.

“TBL and SBL agreed to sign a contract with the ministry to buy all the wheat produced by local smallholder farmers… We will adopt special legislation to ensure such contracts are valid and respected,” he added.

Tanzania imports between 800,000 to one million tons of wheat annually despite the availability of arable lands and favorable weather conditions.

However, the new arrangement will require millers and other processors to take opt for locally grown wheat instead of importing, hence contributing to the economic development.

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On his part, Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Hussein Bashi disclosed that the government has set aside TZS155bn in research and development to enhance crop production.

He also said that an additional TZS4bn is needed to purchase and supply improved wheat seeds amongst smallholder farmers.

“The best approach we want to take is to improve communication with the private sector that replaces directives and state controls,” he said.

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Bashi added that the Agricultural Seeds and Agency (ASA) and Tanzania Agriculture Research Institute (TARI) are working to better the system which includes the availability of quality inputs.

According to him, a new system is in place to give farmers financial access with a two percent interest rate.

“CPB, for instance, has signed an agreement with farmers to access input loan at an interest of 2 percent,” he said.

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Dodoma Zone Manager of the Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank (TADB), Yodas Mwanakatwe, on behalf of the Tanzania Bankers Association pledged the support of the financial institution to improve agricultural activities in the country.

“The wheat value chain as it stands now is benefiting the countries we are importing from, a situation which denies us of economic benefits of employment and incomes, as well as costing us forex revenue,” he noted.

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