IT has come to light that the State is keen on revamping palm tree planting and palm oil production. In fact, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa will set camp in Kigoma region sometime this month in order to explain the noble initiative to residents.
Palm tree planting is, indeed, welcome coungtrywide. The government, we are told, plans to terminate imports of cooking oil in the near future. The upshot here is to exploit fully local potential in palm oil production.
Cooking oil can also be extracted from groundnuts, sesame, sunflower, cashew nuts and other crops. The premier said recently that the government has decided to make sure that no more importation of cooking oil is made in the future since the nation can improve its own production facilities.
Initial exports can benefit the East African Community nations. This is a brilliant idea, to say the least. In yesteryears Tanzania was a shining example in palm oil production. At one point the nation donated palm tree seeds to Malaysia. Today, Malaysia is one of the leading exporters of locally produced palm oil.
So, Prime Minister Majaliwa has decided to set aside seven days which he will spend in Kigoma region enlightening farmers on the good virtues of growing palm trees. It is envisaged that massive production of the crop will be attained.
It is also imperative to point out that palm oil production has been proved to be a money spinner in countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia. The two countries account for around 87 per cent of global palm oil production and the demand for the oil continues to grow.
Palm oil is used in around 50 per cent of products consumers purchase and use on a daily basis. Palm Oil and its derivatives are used in the manufacture of prepackaged foods, cosmetics, cleaning products, hair care, soaps and personal care items.
And palm wax is used in the manufacture of candles. Palm oil is also used to manufacture bio fuel and has become what is called the green fuel option for motor vehicles, shipping and aircraft fuel. Palm is also used as feed for livestock.
The feed is known as palm kernel cake which is a by-product of palm kernel oil. Palm kernel cake is considered a medium grade protein feed used to fatten cattle and other livestock. It is, consequently, imperative that Tanzanian farmers take up the initiative to grow palm trees for there are more benefits than meets the eye.
Palm oil production in Kigoma region has faced a number of challenges for the last 100 years -- hence its demise. The problems include low productivity, lack of stable investment and weak market functions with private investors abandoning their farms due to unpredictable returns.
In this case, the state should ensure that there is an attractive investment climate.