Agriculture Deputy Minister, Innocent Bashungwa told the National Assembly that despite good cotton prices at the world market, the government is implementing strategies to promote more investments in the textile industry to enhance the local market.
The government announced 1,100/- as an indicative price per kilogramme of cotton for the 2018/19 harvest season, slightly down from 1,200/- of the previous season due to global decline of cotton prices.
The Deputy minister said that production costs for one acre of cotton is 488,000/- which can produce 1,000 kilos, equivalent to the cost of 488/- per kilo.
He insisted that stakeholders are involved in all the processes including pricing under the Tanzania Cotton Board (TCB). He said cotton pricing considers a number of criteria such as exchange rates, production and transportation costs and performance of the textile industry in the particular season.
“Farmers will sell their crop at higher prices compared to previous seasons due to government efforts to enhance the textile sector as well as good prices at the world market. Plans are to ensure timely distribution of agricultural inputs and pesticides”, said Bashungwa adding that farmers will be educated on how to use the pesticides to get enough yields.
He said that initiatives have been taken to increase availability of quality cotton seeds whereas in the 2018/2019 season a total of 27,851 tonnes of seeds had been distributed to farmers, to 36 per cent increase compared to 20,496 tonnes distributed in the 2017/2018 season.
Bashungwa said that of all the distributed cotton seeds this season about 1,075 tonnes were given to farmers in Bunda District, an increase of 56 per cent.
He said the Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank Limited (TABD) has been offering loans to farmers and that it is expected to start buying cotton in the 2018/2019 season. He said other banks have also showed interest to buy the crop.
Earlier in his question, Bunda MP, Boniface Getere (CCM) wanted to know the government strategies to improve cotton production and price. He asked whether the government through TCB will be able to set 25000/- as an indicative price for cotton in the 2019/2020 season.
Special Seats legislator, Gimbi Masaba (Chadema) complained over low cotton prices and delayed distribution of agricultural inputs.
In Tanzania, cotton is being produced in 17 regions including Mwanza, Simiyu, Shinyanga, Geita, Mara, Kagera, Tabora, Singida, Kigoma, Katavi, Dodoma, Morogoro, Coast, Tanga, Kilimanjaro, Manyara and Iringa.