TARI eyes to boost wheat productivity

Tanzania Agriculture Research Institute (TARI) plans to produce 2,500 tonnes of basic wheat seeds by 2030 to meet the country’s demand, according to a senior researcher of the institution.

Ismail Ngolinda, TARI Wheat Senior Researcher, told the Daily News yesterday that the institution doubled basic seeds production this year to 250 tonnes compared to only 50 tonnes produced last year.

With 2,500 tonnes basic seeds, the goal of producing 50,000 tonnes of certified seeds will be reached, he said.

“The existing strategies include researching various seeds that can resist high temperature areas but also drought, fungal diseases and many other characteristics,” he said.

The demand for wheat in the country is more than one million tonnes on average compared to the current of 100,000 tonnes produced locally, equal to 10 per cent of the needs thus requiring the country to import about 90 per cent to cover the deficit.

He said the certified seeds will be planted in an area of more than 400,000 hectares.

“The area of 400,000 hectares can provide us with the needed wheat, that is an average of one million tonnes per year,” said the researcher.

The current average per hectare is estimated at 1.6 tonnes and strategies of increasing productivity through intensification and extensification to attain at least 3.0 tonnes per hectare is in place.

Mr Ngolinda who is also National Wheat Crop Coordinator said another strategy is to identify areas that will be suitable for wheat production that were previously unused.

“We have already places we earmarked suitable for wheat production such as Tanga, Kigoma, Ruvuma, Geita Morogoro and Kilosa. These are just some of the areas that are suitable for wheat production and we are continuing to research,” said Ngolinda.

He said Tabora, Dodoma, Singida are areas with high temperature but little rain where they expect their seeds once confirmed will be used in those areas and others that were not previously used to produce wheat.

Currently the regions that produce wheat are Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Manyara, Mbeya, Songwe, Rukwa, Njombe and Katavi.

The basic seeds are expected to be harvested from Selian Arusha, Uyole, Mbeya and Kifyulilo.

He said after the basic seeds the Agricultural Seed Agency (ASA) will be used to produce certified seeds.

However, he said that they will continue to increase the areas to ensure that they meet the needs of the seeds that are needed so that we can have a production that meets the needs of wheat in our country.

Meanwhile, he said they will ensure that the seeds have the characteristics that are needed by the processors.

Many processors currently require the seeds to have at least 24 per cent of gluten since it is very important in processing. This is what determines how much wheat will have the quality to process various products.

Either they make sure that they will produce seeds that will be needed by the market, especially for processors who use wheat to make various products.

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