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Tanzania releases 64 crop varieties in three years

Tanzania releases 64 crop varieties in three years

ALMOST 64 varieties of four crops were released in the country between 2018 and 2020, the African Seed Access Index (TASAI) has revealed.

Among the released seeds, 42 were maize varieties, three rice varieties, 11 for bean and eight were for sunflower.

According to a report made available to the media, most of the varieties were maize, a consistent trend since 2000.

"Of the 64 varieties released, 45 varieties (35 maize varieties, one rice variety, two bean varieties, and seven sunflower varieties) came from the private sector, while the remaining 19 were produced by the public institutions.

This is noteworthy since most of the breeders (29 of 36) work in the public sector," the report read in part.

The report suggests that one of the contributing factors to the high number of varieties released by the private sector is the collaboration between seed companies and institutions like the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT).

Moreover, the vital research, conducted by a group high profile agro researchers, including Edward Mabaya, Firmin Mizabwa, Canuth Komba, Michael Waithaka, Mainza Muyoga, Krisztina Tihanyi and George Kanyeji depicts an increase in the number of varieties sold in the country.

"A total of 61 maize varieties, 3 rice, 14 bean and eight sunflower varieties were sold in 2020. The most popular maize varieties were UH 6303, Situka, M1, UH 615 and Staha," the report depicts.

According to the report, the popular rice varieties were TXD 306, which was sold by all seed companies selling rice seed, and TXD 88.

"The most popular sunflower varieties in the market were Record, and were sold by 68 per cent of the companies.

The second most popular sunflower seeds were Super Sun 66 and Super Sun 64, sold by 9 percent of seed companies," the report presents.

Giving more details pertaining to the performance of the country's seed industry, the report shows that, according to record from the Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute (TOSCI), up to 2020, there were a total 218 registered seed companies in Tanzania involved in the production and marketing of seed and planting materials.

"Out of these, 43 companies were involved in the production, import, export and marketing of seeds of at least one of the four focus crops," according to the findings.

Furthermore, the research established an impressive increase in the number of registered seed companies in the country.

"In 2016, Tanzania had a total of 104 registered seed companies, whereby by 2020, the number increased to 218, which is an increase of at least 110 percent," the report stipulates.

The 25- page report indicate that, in 2020 the surveyed seed companies produced 18,432 MT of maize seed, 476 MT of rice seed, 1,499 MT of bean seed and 649 MT of sunflower seed, making a total of 21,056 MT.

The research also established that competition among seed companies benefited farmers through lower prices, wider choices, increased innovation, and better customer service.

"In 2020, the market share of the top four seed companies was high for maize (74pc), rice (100pc), and bean 98 percent" the report presents.

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Author: DAILY NEWS Reporter

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