State to provide 13bn/- subsidy to tobacco farmers

DODOMA: THE government will provide 13bn/- subsidy to tobacco farmers in 2024/25 financial year, to cut down the cost of agricultural inputs, Minister for Agriculture, Hussein Bashe said yesterday.

He said the reason behind the government decision was heavy downpour that has forced farmers to apply inputs twice and has affected production, as majority have faced the financial impacts.

Mr Bashe said currently, the government is working on tobacco farmer’s database to identify who qualify for the subsidy. He expressed the government’s commitment to support farmers for increased productivity.

“The government wants to see increased tobacco production in the country, this has been seen whereas Tanzania has ranked second this year from fifth position in high leading tobacco producing countries in the world,” minister Bashe told the National Assembly yesterday.

He gave the clarification when responding to a supplementary question by Mr Selemani Kakoso (Mpanda RuralCCM), who demanded to know plans by the government to compensate tobacco farmers in the country.

In the main question asked by Ms Magreth Sitta (UramboCCM) who wanted to know what measures are in place to support tobacco farmers to access and cut down cost of production.

Responding further, Mr Bashe said for three consecutive years, availability of agricultural inputs for tobacco farmers have been available at reasonable pace.

On top of that he said the challenge on availability of jute twine and cotton twine inputs has been experienced in 2023/24 farming seasons due to banks delay on issuing credit letter.

In solving the challenge, he said the government is working and motivating local companies to invest in the production of jute and cotton twine.

The government is working on the best option in collaboration with the Tanzania Fertilizer Company (TFC), Tanzania Tobacco Board and Tobacco Cooperative Joint Enterprises Limited (TCJE) to import in bulk inputs for two farming seasons.

Mr Bashe affirmed that the future of the country’s tobacco production is promising. Tanzania’s tobacco crop increased to 122.86 million kilogrammes in the 2023-2024 growing season. Bashe expressed confidence that Tanzania would produce 200 million kg in 2024-2025.

Tanzania’s recent production figures make it Africa’s second-largest producer after Zimbabwe, which harvested nearly 300 million kg in the 2022-2023 season.

Other prominent African tobacco producers are Malawi (121 million kg), Mozambique (65.8 million kg), Zambia (44 million kg) and Uganda (13 million kg).

Bashe applauded Tanzania’s farmers’ associations and tobacco companies, stating that for the first time more than 50 per cent of tobacco has been bought and sold abroad by local companies.

“It was not an easy journey,” he said. “I thank all the Tobacco Board workers; we dreamed, we did it, keep pushing. We will become Africa’s number one producer.”

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