PM directs increased palm oil seedlings production

08Mar 2023
Valentine Oforo
The Guardian
PM directs increased palm oil seedlings production

PRIME Minister Kassim Majaliwa has directed the Tanzania Agricultural Seeds Agency (ASA) to widen its palm oil seedlings production to at least 300,000 seedlings in a year.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) with the Tanzania Agricultural Seed Agency (ASA) Dr. Sophia Kashenge presents the status of the production of palm oil seedlings during a recent meeting that attracted the country’s stakeholders of palm oil held in Kigoma region. Photo: Correspondent Valentine Oforo

The premier noted that it was far disconcerting that Tanzania spends over 470bn/- to import cooking oil annually while the country has all potential to grow numerous edible oil raw crops, chiefly palm oil.

According to minister Majaliwa, increase in production and distribution of the seedlings will automatically stimulate and assist more farmers to chip in and start cultivating the crop, the needed helpful development which will improve edible oil production within the country.

As part of responding to the prime minister’s directives, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at ASA, Dr. Sophia Kashenge said the Agency was working to intensify palm oil production nurseries at its three main farms.

So far, she expressed that ASA had established palm oil seedlings production nurseries at its farms of Bugaga (Kigoma), Mwele farm (Tanga) and the Morogoro-based Msimba farm.

“The three major forms comprise useful nurseries for the production of palm oil seedlings and we’re currently working to install modern irrigation schemes and green houses at the areas in order to ensure that we increase production and at the needed quality,” she briefed.

Together with that, Dr. Kashenge added that the state-owned seed Agency will continue working to attract and work in collaboration with numerous potential stakeholders in the private sector in order to widen production of the seedlings.

“We at ASA feels very grateful for the  manner to which the government continues to trust us when it comes to seed production in the country and we will continue standing at forefront to ensure that the farmers across the country are timely distributed with enough, but improved seedlings as well as seeds for all crops,” she assured.

Recently during his audience with all stakeholders in the country’s palm oil stakeholders held in Kigoma region, among others, minister Majaliwa directed for major revamp in the production of the crop, possible in all regions where the crop can flourish.

“All regional, district and political parties’ leaders have platforms to meet the citizens at all times. Let’s go and encourage them to cultivate palm oil because it is a crop that will provide them with money over a long period of time,” Majaliwa said.

The round table forum meant also to brainstorm over the challenges facing farmers engaged in the cultivation of crops and ways to ensure the country has a sufficient amount of palm oil, the development that Majaliwa expressed will help the nation to avoid importing large amounts of edible oil.

According to the premier, the country’s current demand for edible oil stands at more than 650,000 tonnes annually while the production is estimated at only 290,000 tonnes.

“An amount of 360,000 tonnes equivalent to 55.4 per cent is imported from abroad and costs the government approximately 470bn/- every year. We need the money to be used for the country’s development,” he expounded.

Speaking at the forum, Deputy Agriculture Minister Anthony Mavunde detailed that the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) and other private companies have come up with the production of quality palm seeds called TENERA, the vital variety with potential to produce oil three times more than the DURA type which is used by approximately 90 per cent of farmers.

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