This was revealed by TARI-Uyole Director, Dr Tulole Bucheyeki in directives to agriculture officers in Kyela District.
He said they have reached the decision in the aim of producing oil palm in abundance to alleviate edible oil shortage in the country, as well as assisting farmers to earn income.
“The main cause for the country’s edible oil shortage is the lack of adequate raw materials for edible oil production, and now the government has decided to solve the problem by investing in the cultivating of crops that yield edible oil,” he said and added that it is the reason behind establishing a seedling farm for quality oil palm crop at TARI-Uyole.
He said the seedlings farm will assist to expand oil palm cultivation in the coastal areas of Lake Nyasa where it has been proved that the crop grows well.
He said the seedlings will be distributed to farmers to expand their oil palm farms and when they start producing the issue of edible oil shortage will be past history.
TARI’s Coordinator of Research and innovation, Dr Emanuel Chiligani said to start with they have planted 41,000 seeds, saying if they all grow, they will have 41,000 seedlings, but added that they expect to get 27,000 seedlings at the very least.
He said the seedlings will be distributed free of charge in Kyela District and other coastal areas of Lake Nyasa and that the training provided to the agricultural officers will be beneficial to farmers.
“These seedlings are adequate in areas totaling 220 hectares, hence we advise farmers in Kyela district and other areas to grab the opportunity,” Dr Chiligali said.
For his part TASRI’s oil palm researcher Beata Paul said many farmers in Kyela District have been using traditional seeds whose small yield have not benefitted them, as compared to the modern quality seeds.
Kyela District Council Executive Director Ezekiel Magehema said they are well organised to mobilise farmers to grab the opportunity for their economic wellbeing.