PRESIDENT Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan has affirmed that the government remains steadfast in its commitment to unlocking market opportunities for cloves.
Gracing the inauguration of the Karafuu Investment House of Zanzibar State Trade Cooperation (ZSTC) in the Pemba Islands yesterday, President Samia urged farmers to enhance their production levels while maintaining the high quality of cloves.
“The government will continue to look for opportunities to increase skills and expertise in the scientific cultivation of cloves to enhance productivity and quality. Let’s not lower the value of our cloves,” President Samia stated.
She added: “The demand for cloves in the international market is still high, so let’s increase our efforts to produce because we haven’t been able to satisfy those needs to date.”
The ceremony, held as part of the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Zanzibar revolution, marked a pivotal moment for the clove industry and its contribution to the region’s economy.
According to President Samia, the current average clove production stands at 1.4 tonnes per acre, while other countries produce an average of 1.7 to 1.8 tonnes per acre.
President Samia expressed her gratitude for the prosperity brought about by the clove crop, attributing the success to the hard work of local farmers.
“This building is an example of the prosperity of the clove industry and evidence of the tireless efforts of the farmers in this area,” she acknowledged.
The Karafuu Investment House aims to facilitate the sale of cloves for farmers, providing them with a streamlined process and eliminating challenges.
The President further emphasised the importance of leveraging technology in clove trading.
“Now cloves are measured scientifically; the era of measuring by hand is no longer there. Everything is measured by a machine that detects volume, grade, and moisture, and analyses it,” she explained.
President Samia implored the responsible use of the newly inaugurated building to achieve the government’s goals.
Clove exports from Zanzibar have consistently held the top position, contributing significantly to the region’s economy. In 2022 alone, the export of cloves accounted for 65.6 per cent of all sales in Zanzibar, totaling 118bn/-, according to Dr Samia.
To address the issue of clove smuggling, President Samia highlighted the government’s successful strategies and emphasised the need for fair pricing.
“The lack of clove smuggling is due to good government strategies. Those engaged in such activities will not need to smuggle cloves if they are given a fair price,” she asserted.
President Samia called on the ZSTC to address farmers’ issues and establish a database to streamline record-keeping, enabling coordinated and sustainable plans for the sector.
Furthermore, she encouraged the involvement of investors in the clove industry to strengthen its value chain in the global market.
Minister of Trade and Industrial Development, Omar Said Shaaban, says they currently use special digital devices to measure moisture in the cloves, unlike in the past.
“But we are also making every effort to fight smuggling, and we have seen that the only way to combat it is to increase the price of cloves,” he said.
He said the government is implementing various strategies to boost clove production as the country’s major cash crop.
One of them, implemented through the President’s Office, Finance, and Planning, is the formation of a task force to prepare a clove development policy to ensure the industry becomes strong for the benefit of the government and the people.
The ministry is also working on strategies to increase and improve clove trees, including public awareness of the best crop management practices.
The government, through the Zanzibar State Trading Corporation, is improving clove seedling nurseries and distributing seedlings to farmers to improve production.