The Head of Tanzania Agriculture Research Institute (TARI) Uyole Centre in Mbeya Dr Tulole Lugendo Bucheyeki made the remarks during an interview with this paper in Mbeya.
He said production of the crop stands at 100,000 tonnes per year against the country’s needs of 1,000,000, thus creating a deficit of 900,000 tonnes which is needed for the country’s needs.
According to Dr Bucheyeki wheat is cultivated in the northern and southern highlands zones only, saying there is need for sensitisation to farmers to grow more wheat to increase production.
He said the institute had conducted research to identify areas where wheat can be grown in the country, saying farmers need be advised on better practices for whean growing in their respective areas.
“To meet the country’s demand we need to expand areas where the crop in grown, as TARI we have done research on the matter especially in areas which are suitable for growing of the crop and we are ready to give advice to farmers,” he said.
Dr Bucheyeki added that the agency has also conducted research on the best seeds which can withstand weather and other climate hazards in various areas in the country.
Farmers have complained that the deficit has led to the increase in prices of the crop where in the first place it was sold at 20,000/- and now is being sold at 28,000/- per 20-litre plastic can.
He further said earlier, business people were selling the crop at 1,300/- per kilograme and now they are selling it at 1,000/- per kilogramme.
During the meeting with agriculture stakeholders in the zones, the agriculture officers from the Ministry of Agriculture Melyus Zalawahe said the government is committed towards improving the crop’s production.
He said despite the fact that regions like Manyara and Mbeya are producing the crop at a large scale, the government has put in place various strategies to ensure it is grown in other regions.