Cotton growers in the country will soon benefit from a drought insurance scheme after completion of an experiment being conducted in Bunda district by an insurance company.
This was revealed yesterday by Simiyu Regional Commissioner Paschal Mabiti in an interview with journalists on the sidelines of a cotton stakeholders meeting which commenced on Wednesday in Dar es Salaam.
The RC said that the insurance company, Microensure, has been commissioned by Tanzania Cotton Board through Tanzania Gatsby Trust to conduct the experiment in Bunda district so system could be applied across the country.
“The company has been working for one and a half years and we hope that farmers may start benefiting from the system in the coming harvest season which begins in July,” Mabiti said.
He said through the system cotton growers will be insured in case there is drought so that they can pay for the inputs they get from ginners on credit.
Mabiti said that once the system was put in place it will help farmers as well as ginners because they will be paid for the inputs. He however said that the insurance company must take into consideration other factors like floods adding that sometime drought may not occur but farmers can be affected by floods when their crops are washed away.
Commenting on cotton production in his newly established region, Mabiti said that the region produces 60 per cent of the cotton produced in the country.
He said last year the region produced 99,770 tonnes of cotton and the improved yields were highly contributed to by contract farming.
“In the past, cotton production in the area was ranging between 45 and 50 per cent but following the implementation of CF two years ago the production has increased tremendously,” Mabiti said.
He said his region was expecting to produce 116, 304 tonnes of cotton in the coming season which began in July.
Mabiti said farmers have commended the government for introducing CF because it has helped to improve yields due to close supervision of extension officers and availability of inputs.
For his part, Musoma District Commissioner Geofrey Ngatuni said that CF started as pilot in Musoma in 2008 and it was implemented through the establishment of farmers’ business groups.
“We started with 28 groups but to date there are 400 groups …farmers have accepted the CF because it facilitate inputs,” Ngatuni said.