JKT’s ambitious project targets edible oil production

THE National Service (JKT) is implementing a robust project for production of sunflower and palm oil as well as producing over 1,300 tonnes of seedlings, in joint efforts to support the government in solving shortage of edible oil in the country.

In the ambitious project, the army has so far cultivated 700 acres for sunflower oil seeds in Kongwa District as well as at Chenene Village in Chamwino District of Dodoma Region.

JKT Head of Administration, Brigadier General Hassan Mabena, said that the army had decided to venture into the crucial project so as to supplement several efforts being undertaken by the government to overcome shortage of cooking oil in the country.

Records depict that the country’s current demand for edible oil stands at 650,000 tonnes annually while production capacity is estimated at only 290,000 tonnes, meaning, there is a deficit of 360,000 tonnes, which JKT says it is well determined to ensuring that it is covered through its various projects being implemented at different camps.

Records further show that Tanzania spends over 470bn/- to import a deficit of 360,000 tonnes of cooking oil annually, which is equivalent to 55.4 per cent while the country has all potential to grow numerous edible oil crops, chiefly palm oil.

According to Brigadier General Mabena who doubles as the JKT Chairperson of Strategic Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Development, said JKT decided to chip in and add muscles to government’s efforts that are being implemented through diverse agricultural institutions.

He added that JKT was very determined and would stand at forefront to work round the clock in cooperation with the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) to produce improved seeds varieties for sunflower and palm oil in order to enable the farmers in the relevant sector to improve their crop’s production and productivity.

As for palm oil, Brig Gen Mabena expressed that JKT has planted seeds at least on 800 acres at its 821 KJ- Bulombora Camp in Kigoma Region.

The JKT Director of Strategic Committee on Agriculture,L and Fisheries Development, Colonel Peter Rushika, unveiled that after being certified by the Tanzania Official Seeds Certification Institute (TOSCI) the seeds that are being produced will be marketed to the farmers at good prices.

“As a pilot project, we have successfully managed to produce the seeds at acreage of 700, but we are envisioned to keep on expanding production for crop, sunflower and palm oil,” he detailed.

Speaking earlier, Acting Commandant of 834 Makutupora JKT Camp, Major James Macheta said they have so far cultivated a total of 590 acres of sunflower oil seeds at the areas, being out of the 1000 acres that have been earmarked for the production of the important oil –producing crop at the camp.

“We started to implement this project in October, last year by clearing a total of 500 acres, the work which was done by our volunteer youths and we’re looking forward to cultivating the crop at the whole1000 acres in the next growing season,” he informed.

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