PM commends TARI for successful research on improved oilpalm seeds

27Sep 2021
Gerald Kitabu
Kigoma
The Guardian
PM commends TARI for successful research on improved oilpalm seeds

​​​​​​​The government will continue using internal resources and Tanzanian agricultural researchers to produce improved seed varieties to transform agriculture in the country, says Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa.

The Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa greets government officials upon his arrival at Kwitanga prison service oil palm field in Kigoma. Right is TARI director general Dr. Geoffrey Mkamilo. Photo: Correspondent Gerald Kitabu

He said the Ministry of agriculture through TARI has proved that the country has good and hardworking researchers who can conduct fruitful researches for our country’ development.

Speaking at Kasulu district in Kigoma region after visiting Red Cross’ field of oil palm commercial seedling of tenera variety over the weekend, the Prime Minister said the government has decided to use the improved seeds produced by Tanzanian agricultural researchers because some imported seeds are poor in quality and do not yield desired fruits.

“When the government through TARI started this work of research and production of improved oil palm commercial seedling of tenera variety in 2018, I saw it as a difficult work but TARI director general Dr. Geoffrey Mkamilo assured me that it was possible and easier,” he said.

Instead of importing the improved oil palm seeds from outside, the government through TARI decided to conduct the research and produce own improved oil palm and the exercise has been successful.

The Prime Minister said the research work  started in 2018 and in 2019, the improved oil palm commercial seedling of tenera variety were panted and just less than three years, they have already started producing bunches of fruits.

So far TARI has produced more than 6.5 million improved seeds of oil palm tenera verity and the target is to produce 10 million improved seeds per annum.

TARI’s work has also quenched the thirst of Members of parliament in Kigoma who were asking for the improved seeds for their farmers in the region.

“We decided to transfer TARI from Dar es Salaam to Kihinga and we brought all agricultural researchers here and the research work started immediately in in Kigoma,” he said.

Members of Parliament were requesting that farmers want to grow the improved oil palm commercial seedlings of tenera variety, I have come to tell you that the improved seedlings are available in plenty,” he added.

The seedlings are also available at all district and town councils, military institutions such as 821 Bulombora KJ which has 4,000 and until now it has planted 400 acres of oil palm. It has extra seedlings to plant 300 acres in October this year when the rains begin.

Kwitanga Prison service is planning to grow 6,000 acres of oil palm and have already planted 700 acres. Primary and secondary schools have also established small farms ranging from three to five acres depending on the size of the school.

Investors and individual farmers are also planting the improved oil palm commercial seedling of tenera variety in different locations.

Besides TARI, Bulombora and Kwitanga, Red Cross has become the fourth institution that is supporting the government’s efforts to transform agriculture. Red cross in Kasulu district has established a 25-acres of improved oil palm commercial seedling of tenera variety and are in good condition.

“I urge you Kasulu farmers and other residents to grow the oil palm, it is a profitable perennial crop that one can rescue you. It is the crop that you can continue harvesting for more than 30 years.

If you love your son or daughter who is in primary school, I urge you to grow this crop as soon as possble,” he stressed

He said parents should grow three or more acres of oil palm for their children because the perennial crop will help take them to universities and other high learning institutions.

“When your son completes University, he can decid to come back home and continue developig the crop or venture into entrepreneurship through this crop,”he said.

Kigoma is blessed for having fertile soil and good climate for agricultural. Kigoma residents are energetic and have passion with agriculture that’ why the government has put efforts to transform agriculture in the region, he added.

The government has transferred TARI and brought it at Kihinga Kigoma to develop the crop and President Samia Suluhu Hassan has directed that at this period, the seedlings should be distributed for free to the farmers so that even those who don’t capital can grow the crop.

He urged Kasulu residents to stop stealing the seedlings from their neighbour fields, instead they should request the seedlings from relevant institutions and will be given for free.

“The seedlings are available even if you want more than 1,000 you will get for free. I directed kasulu district council to establish oil palm nurseries for the farmers and have done so. I have been informed that the seedlings are being distributed to the farmers for free, he added.

He urged you to form small farmer groups and AMCOS and grow the improved oil palm commercial seedling of tenera variety.

He reminded farmers to gradually start removing the traditional dura varieties and replace them with the improved oil palm commercial seedling of tenera variety.

“I direct again that all extension officers should work with rural farmers to train them on good agricultural practices right from the farms preparation to harvesting,” he said.

Prime Minister said TARI has played a pivotal role to transform the crop right from research to production.

This is the new variety after crossing two local varieties namely dura and Pisifera.

Tenera are characterized by thick mesocarp, thin shell and high yielding potential, a situation, researchers say give them more advantage of higher oil content over traditional dura variety.

 

When you arrive in Kigoma whether on aircraft or by road, what you see in the fields are the traditional low yielding dura variety which were established long time in the  1920’s.

TARI director general Dr. Geoffrey Mkamilo said since the government directives in 2018, the Ministry of agriculture through TARI has been working around the clock to make sure that the improved seeds are available for every farmers.

“After that research, we worked with different partners to produce massively and disseminate to the farmers, investors and other stakeholders and we managed. Today, the production and dissemination are being done at different institutions such as Bulombora natonal service, Kwitanga Prison service and at all district councils in Kigoma region. In fact all Kigoma district councils and eleven other districts outside Kigoma are producing the seedlings and disseminating to the farmers,” he said.

He said several important interventions have been taken. The first intervention is to produce enough improved commercial oil palm tenera variety and supply to all farmers farmers. The second intervention is to deploy all the potential area for palm oil production in Tanzania by planting Tenera variety.

The third intervention is to replant the old oil palm trees existing in Tanzania with Tenera variety.

 

The country require a total of 570,000 metric tons of edible oil but the current production stands at 40 percent of the required edible oil while 60 percent is actually imported. This cost the nation approximately 44 bn/- annually

Therefore, he said the government has decided to boost oil palm by facilitating farmers and institutions with the improved commercial oil palm tenera variety to address shortage of edible oil in the country.

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