The government of Tanzania has expressed its determination to establish a stable market for local tea to bolster production of the cash crop.
Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Mr. Hussein Bashe assured Parliament that the government will do everything possible in its power to engage and seek support from various development partners and other stakeholders to ensure that tea farming is improved.
Mr Bashe said the government will ensure continued efforts to develop the tea crop to increase productivity, including doing researches that may lead to developing proper seedlings for high yields.
“We are up for quality tea seeds, we have the needed research funds and we’re determined to ensure that our farmers get reliable markets for the crop,”. “We’ll supervise to ensure that our farmers benefit from the crop,” he said.
He said the government’s plan also aims to boost tea production to 40,000 tonnes from the current 34,000 tonnes, while equipping farmers with prerequisite skills and knowledge on better farming methods to increase production and income.
He acknowledged that for many years, farmers have been complaining over getting low profit from the crop due to low prices and unreliable market. Mr Bashe said in 2021/22 financial year, the government plans to spend 400m/- for the production of quality seedling, provide training for small scale farmers and develop four big plantations managed by the Korogwe and Lushoto Smallholder Tea Farmers Agency (TSHTDA).
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The Deputy Minister was reacting to a question from Mr Enosy Swalle, (Lupembe-CCM) on what measures were in place to increase tea production in the country. He added that through the AGRICONECT, which aims to increase productivity and value addition, more than 5.560 million euros has been allocated towards that.
Mr Bashe said the project will also promote value chain in Rungwe, Busokelo, Mufindi and Njombe in the next four years ending 2023/24. The project will be implemented jointly by IDH, TRITI and TSHTDA companies.
Mr Bashe added that in the 2021/22 financial year, 290.7m/- has been set aside for the production of 750,000 quality tea seedlings. Moreover, he told Parliament that the ministry will provide training to farmers on the principles of good farming practices and quality tea products; strengthening 34 Cooperative Societies as well as strengthening extension services.
The tea crop earns the nation foreign exchange amounting to US dollars 60 million a year and provides direct employment to more than 50,000 people in the tea processing industries. The crop is grown in 12 districts and 6 regions, which are Mbeya, Njombe, Iringa, Tanga, Kagera and Mara where about 32,000 smallholder farmers are engaged in cultivation of the crop