ZSTC pays 38bn/- to clove farmers in Zanzibar

ZANZIBAR State Trading Corporation (ZSTC) has paid over 38bn/- to clove farmers in Unguja and Pemba in procurement of about 3,000 tonnes of the cash crop.

ZSTC Managing Director Bakar Haji Bakar told the ‘Daily News’ here over the weekend that the government trading arm has purchased about 60 per cent of the 5,000-tonne target since the low buying season was officially opened on August 1, 2022.

He was however, uncertain on meeting the target, saying: “We are not quite sure of meeting the target because the produce is already on the decline trend. Production ups and downs are common in clove business.”

Mr Bakar whom President Hussein Mwinyi appointed recently to head the corporation said he has plans to increase production of the country’s top cash crop. The new MD was appointed to replace Dr Said Seif Mzee, the current Accountant General.

He cited distribution of clove seedlings and mobilisations of farmers to nurture the young trees to maturity as one of the strategy to boost production of the lucrative cash crop.

“We plan to give to Unguja and Pemba farmers at least 500,000 clove seedlings this year,” said Mr Bakar, elaborating that Unguja and Pemba will receive 200,000 and 300,000 seedlings, respectively.

“Our aim is not just to distribute seedlings for the sake of it. We want to ensure that they are properly planted and properly nurtured to grow into productive trees…past experience shows that most of the planted trees died due to lack of good care.”

The chief executive said the corporation is working closely with farmers and agriculture, irrigation, natural resources and livestock ministry, saying his dream is to revive clove production in the isles to its historical peaks of over 20,000tons, annually.

He however said ZSTC is exploring new avenues to diversify its business, citing the real estate as one of the potential opportunities.

Already, ZSTC is renting out some of its warehouses, Mr Bakar said, adding: “We are also in the process of renting out our Makonyo factory in Pemba because it’s currently operating under loss.”

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