TANZANIA Agricultural Research Institute (Tari) has said it is intensifying knowledge sharing, research and the production of improved seeds, targeting to make Tanzania the largest groundnut exporter on the continent.
This was revealed by sesame and groundnut researcher from Tari-Naliendele, Joseph Nzunda during a training session of smallholder groundnut farmers in Chamwino District, Dodoma Region. Training was jointly organised by Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute (Tosci) and Tari.
He said Tari, among other things, had planned to train farmers and supply improved seeds to maximise productivity. "Part of our training also focuses on helping farmers to produce quality seeds," he said.
He noted that the goal of providing education and the production of quality seeds a national strategy to increase crop yield.
Data released by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) ranked Tanzania the 10th world’s groundnut producing countries. It produced 940,000 tonnes in 2018.
Tari is optimistic that massive production of groundnuts will help the country save a lot in foreign currency spent on importing edible cooking oil.
Tanzania imports an average of 60 per cent of its cooking oil despite the potential it has in producing raw materials.
Besides researching on improved seeds, Tari-Naliendele has been producing groundnut processing machines in various parts of the country.
The researcher said Tari seeds were drought and disease resistant. “Some of the common diseases include rust, fungal toxin and trachoma.”
Mr Athanas Minja, another researcher from Tari-Naliendele said groundnuts contained 51.5 per cent of fat and high level of protein, iron and zinc minerals.
He explained that there were 17 seed varieties and three additional varieties had been submitted to Tosci for approval. "Should the seeds get approval we will have 20 groundnut varieties," he said.