Govt sets 400,000 hectares of land for wheat cultivation

02Jul 2022
By Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Govt sets 400,000 hectares of land for wheat cultivation

THE government has earmarked a total of 400,000 hectares of land for cultivation of wheat, a move aimed at ending shortage of the crop in the country, Hussein Bashe, Minister of Agriculture has said.

Bashe said the 400,000 hectares of land will be cultivated with wheat in wheat growing regions within three years beginning in 2022.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Tanzania produced 70,000 tonnes of wheat in 2021 while the country imports between 800,000 tonnes and 1 million tonnes of wheat annually.

Speaking to stakeholders of the crop from various regions that met in the capital Dodoma, Bashe said the Ministry of Agriculture is in the process of distributing 50,000 tons of wheat seeds to farmers.

He urged regional commissioners from wheat producing regions to oversee the massive cultivation of the cereal without fail.

Omary Mgumba, the Songwe regional commissioner, said wheat farmers in the region abandoned cultivating the crop and shifted to growing other crops after prices of wheat had dropped.

The Ministry of Agriculture's draft for the Agriculture Sector Development Program (ASDPII 2021-25) indicates that 70 percent of locally consumed wheat is imported.

The government spends 1.3trn/- annually to import wheat, sugar, maize seeds and crude oil due to lacklustre domestic production of the vital cash crops.

According to the Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute (TOSCI), there are at least 25 varieties of wheat species registered in Tanzania, out of 586 plant varieties of at least 33 different crops registered by the institute.

Other crop species with number of available varieties in brackets as maize (160 varieties), rice (20), sorghum (15), beans (30), cowpea (5), pigeon pea (6), sesame (4), sweet potato (15), cassava (15) and sunflower (7) vegetables (210), coffee (15), cashew nut (40), sugar cane (7), tea (7), and round potato 7 varieties.

Top Stories