TARI’s grape farming campaign pulled back

TARI’s grape farming campaign pulled back

TANZANIA Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) campaign to expand grapes farming is being backpedalled by lack of vine processing facilities outside Dodoma.

The institute said the farmers need simple grape processing facilities for crushing and pressing the fruits into watery form for easy handling, instead of transporting them raw.

For instance, farmers from Kibaigwa and Mpwapwa failed to secure bulk buyers due to logistics challenge to transport and maintain the grapes freshness until they reach at the processing facilities in Dodoma.

TARI’s Makutupora Centre Director, Dr Cornel Massawe, said they are facing an uphill task to encourage farmers to cultivate grapes in areas where there are no processing plant.

“The grape processing factories are in Dodoma [city]. We want all Dodoma to grow grapes and then move to another region,” Dr Massawe told ‘Daily News’ on Thursday.

Due to the challenge TARI now concentrates on maximising winegrowing (viticulture) in Dodoma region before venturing out the campaign to other regions that have suitable land for grape farming.

“Once we satisfy ourselves that Dodoma, which is most suitable area in the country (for grapes farming), is fully exploited on winegrowing we will move to another region. “In Dodoma we are also encouraging traders and farmers to invest in small grape processing factories even if they are not for wine making, to prevent grapes from going bad,” said Dr Massawe.

After registering a positive outcome in Dodoma, the director said, they will move to other regions staring with Singida then Tabora.

“Our goal is to see that when people decide to farm grapes should realise the investment benefits. The idea behind is to create a ready market for farmers’ produce to avoid postharvest loss,” he said.

To that effect, the TARI— Makutupora Centre continues to conduct training to farmers and extension officers on good agricultural practices for grapes production along the value chain at Chamwino District Council in Mpwapwa , Dodoma region.

The training targets local government leaders including ward councillors, extension officers, district agricultural officers, ward and village executive officers.

For instance, the last week training, Dr Massawe said, various topics on grapes production and processing technologies were covered, including site selection, land preparation, identification and management of insects, pests and diseases, grapes management, proper harvesting techniques, post-harvest and value addition techniques of grapes.

“We are training them to reduce losses. The current situation the processors hardly buy from local farmers since have their own vineyards to supply their needs,” Dr Massawe said.

In July last year, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa instructed all councils in Dodoma to establish nurseries to produce grape seedlings to enable farmers get quality and reliable seeds. Regions whose soil was studied and found to be suitable for grapes farming are Tabora, Kilimanjaro, Morogoro, Singida and Manyara

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