Govt envisages annual rise in soya seed production

TANZANIA: THE Ministry of Agriculture has said that it foresees a sharp annual increase in soya seed production because Tanzania is currently using irrigated farms to produce the badly needed seed.

The ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mr Gerald Mweli, told a soya stakeholders’ meeting here that irrigation machinery has been installed in selected farms that are producing the seed and research on the crop is underway in research institutes. Tanzania has entered a new age in the production of the seed, he said.

He did not give the number of farms or the budgetary increase to research centres, but said the new technology and the irrigation approach promises Tanzania an increase in annual production of the seed and an increase in the number of growers.

In a speech read on his behalf by the Director of Implements and Value Addition, Engineer Anna Mwangamilo, the PS said soya production has increased significantly and broadening local and foreign markets. “We shall be producing the seed more than once a year and we shall increase the annual budget of research centres in order to get best varieties of the seeds,” he said.

The meeting was jointly organised by the ministry and Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT).  SAGCOT’s Programme Manager Tanzania Sustainable Soybean Initiative (TSSI), Mr Abdallah Msambachi, said the idea behind the current production thrust is to produce competitive soya on the market and create jobs using the crop.

Soya is significantly grown in Ruvuma, Iringa, Mbeya, Rukwa and Morogoro Region other regions with the potential and characteristics of soybean production are Tanga, Mtwara, Lindi, Kagera Mara, Kigoma, Kilimanjaro, Arusha and Manyara.

The General Manager of Iringa Farmers’ Cooperative Union (IFCU), Mr Tumaini Lipola, said although the soya business climate is friendly, production still remains low due to various challenges which need to be addressed including agriculture financing.  On the average, he said, a farmer is supposed to harvest 1.5 tonnes of sipack variety in an acre, “but our farmer is currently harvesting 500 kilogrammes.”

The meeting drew participants from the private sector, financial institutions and varied non-state actors in the soya industry.

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