The statement was made here by Joseph Nzunda, National Coordinator of Oil Seed Research Programme at the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) Naliendele while opening a one-day training for groundnuts farmers in Chamwino district, Dodoma Region.
He said such training organised by TARI in collaboration with Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute (TOSCI) is aimed at helping farmers especially small scale farmers improve production and availability of improved seeds.
“We focus on teaching farmers how to produce improved seeds that they will in turn share with their fellows in effort to ensure improved groundnuts varieties in the country,” he said.
He added that the aim of the training and public education to farmers is to increase production of groundnuts in the country, beyond the level that made Tanzania become the tenth producer of groundnuts globally.
He said in 2011, Tanzania accounted for 2.9 percent of the global area for groundnut cultivation and produced 1.7 percent of global production. The most important growing regions in Tanzania include Mtwara, Tabora, Shinyanga, Kilwa, Dodoma and Mwanza.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, in 2018 Tanzania produced 940,000 tonnes of groundnuts, making it the tenth producer of oilseed globally.
According to Nzunda, increased production of groundnuts will reduce the amount of foreign currency, spent on importing edible oil into the country, noting that currently 60 percent of the oil is imported from other countries.
He explained that at TARI Naliendele, in addition to research on groundnut seeds, it has gone further, carrying out tests on production of groundnuts oils, adding that currently processing machines are installed at different parts of the country.
Nzunda, a researcher on sesame and groundnuts seeds also said improved seeds approved by his institution are sold in different parts of the country because they withstand a lot of diseases.
Another researcher from TARI Naliendele, Athanas Minja observed that groundnuts are important food and cash crop. He said groundnuts contain 51.5 percent of oil with high levels of protein and zinc.
“We have 17 groundnuts seed varieties and other three have been submitted to Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute (TOSCI) for approval and soon we will have 20 varieties,” he added.
Maria Ananias, one of the farmers who attended the training thanked the organisers for such education on improved groundnuts farming which involved how to control diseases, modern farming and use of improved seed for better production.