"We are determined to support the cotton and textile sector in the country, we firmly believe that these cost effective vehicles will enable cotton inspectors to give superb extension services to farmers," the TGT Chief Executive Officer, Ms Olive Luena, said in Dar es Salaam.
Speaking at a brief ceremony at which the supplier - CFAO Motors - displayed the sample vehicle before the members of the Tanzania Cotton Board, Ms Luena said the 11-vehicle consignment is expected in the country within four months.
The TGT support will hopefully invigorate morale among the extension officers who are currently using motorcycles to traverse large areas to reach cotton farmers. The cotton sub-sector employs 16 million Tanzanians, about 40 per cent of the country's population.
Tanzania Cotton Board, through the support of Gatsby Charitable Foundation, has invested heavily in the introduction of contract farming in the country's cotton sub-sector, with a view to increase productivity via extensive use of inputs and extension services.
Sources within the sector describe contract farming as highly beneficial to the poor peasants, with potential of addressing the chronic problems in cotton production and marketing - shortage of farm inputs, unreliable extension services, cheating and cotton contamination.
Under contract farming, producers form Farmers Business Groups (FBGs), associations of between 50 and 60 cotton growers that offer reliable network for execution of the programme. Besides guaranteeing credits to individual farmers, FBGs serve as business entities, contracted by ginners to buy cotton from their members on commission.