Deputy agriculture minister, Hussein Bashe, said that the ministry was determined to increase the availability of improved sunflower seeds at a tune of more than 3,900 tonnes, compared to 886 tonnes estimated to be produced during the year 2021.
He said the government also eyes to heighten production of sunflower from 790,000 to a total of 1,600,000 tonnes, something which will also spearhead the country’s efforts to minimize importation of edible oil.
Bashe said that the target is aimed to ensure a total of 35 sunflower oil industries in the country have capacity of processing at least 650,000 tonnes, with 741 other small scale factories to process a total of 1,111,500 tonnes.
“We are working tirelessly to mobilize all potential edible oil resources the country has been endowed with in order to overcome the challenge of acute shortage of cooking oil within the country,” Bashe said.
He added that the parent ministry would motivate and supervise contract farming among the farmers and sunflower processors in order to propel for vast cultivation of the crop.
“At ministerial level, we are planning to implement several useful strategies to ensure increased research on improved sunflower seed varieties, development of agriculture infrastructures as well as provision of deserved extension services towards the sunflower growers,” he detailed.
Statistics show that Tanzania imports more than 365,000 metric tons (MT) of edible oil annually which costs the government at least 443bn/-.
The National Coordinator for Sunflower Research, Frank Reuben told The Guardian in an interview that the institute has already developed a key road map to produce a total of 45 tons of Pre- basic and basic seeds, to be distributed to different seeds companies for mass production.
He briefed, in order to implement the robust initiative successfully, TARI has set to work in partnership with several companies and institutions.
They are the Agriculture Seed Agency (ASA), BioSustain Tanzania Limited, TERMAR, RUDDI, AGRI-SEED Technologies, Southern Highland Seed Growers, Lima Africa, Inades, Agricpays Tanzania Ltd, and registered farmers working with Clinton Foundation and World Vision Tanzania.
“The companies will be responsible to produce at least 4,500 tonnes of seeds, to be certified by the Tanzania Official Seeds Certification Institute (TOSCI),” he stated.
He expressed that, according to the set schedule, the seed tons to be produced will be used to produce 2 million tonnes of sunflower grain for processing.
“This programme is expected to play a paramount role in helping the county contain a shortage of edible oil, as well as reduce importation of sunflower seed varieties,” he insisted.
On June 13 this year, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa launched the national strategic campaign for the mass investment and production of sunflowers in the country.
In his keynote speech at the Social Training Centre -RC Mission, in Singida Region, the premier said the campaign was meant to ensure the country overcome edible oil shortage within a period of two years.