Over 50 new technologies in the human health and agricultural sectors are to be adopted in the country as part of the ongoing strategy by the government to ensure production of non-chemical biofertilizers and organic products.
The move follows construction of a bio-larvicide plant in Kibaha district, Coast region, which is being funded by the Cuban government and whose construction is supervised by a Cuban firm, Labiofam.
Dr Jose Fraga Castro, a Labiofam director, made the revelation in Dar es Salaam over the weekend in an interview with The Guardian.
The director said his company intends to transfer 54 technologies from Cuba to Tanzania under the spirit of South-South cooperation, noting that the move will act as a strategy to fighting and malnutrition at a low cost.
“It is not about money or making profit, it’s about giving someone a defensive weapon,” he said.
Dr Castro, who is a brother of former Cuban president Fidel Castro, told The Guardian that technical training for the industry’s specialists will commence next January, adding that the number of people to undergo the training will depend on the government's capacity to allocate human resources.
“We hope to create 165 new jobs to lead the plant in its day-to-day operations,” he said.
Dr Castro named some products to be produced as 30 viral and bacterial vaccines, 20 diagnostic milium, 150 veterinary products, products for cancer treatment, and products for human health, pro-biotic foodstuff, starch and acid glucose.
According to him, with the products finally being produced locally will lower the prices of imported ones, besides earning the government foreign currency on exported products.
Prof Ricardo de Campos, Labiofam's director for sub-Saharan Africa, said some officials from his firm will hold discussions with the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) this week to identify areas of interest between the two sides.
He said already the company had identified a variety of natural trees, including the neem tree, for the production of oil, natural pesticides and shampoos for anti-scabies.
“We’re hopeful that we can do a lot in Tanzania. We will need to undertake some studies to find more local natural products that can be used as raw materials,” he said.
Referring to the bio-larvicide plant currently under construction, the director said the decision to implement the project could be traced back to 2009 when President Jakaya Kikwete paid a visit to a bio-larvicide industry in Cuba and expressed interest in having one in the country to help in combating malaria.
“In case there is an epidemic outbreak, the plant can produce vaccines apart from the 53 various products to be produced,” informed Jorge Luis Tormo, Cuban ambassador to Tanzania.
The envoy was commenting on the natural products to be produced. He said the company will continue training specialists to run the plant and oversee its operations for about 10 years.