In a response issued by the Ministry of Agriculture to Special Seats MP, Felister Bura (CCM), the ministry said production of the key commercial crop in the country has risen by 114 per cent from 7,527 tonnes produced in the 2013/14 season. The government’s production plan, however, is to reach 22,000 during 2024/2025 season.
Japhet Hasunga, the Minister for Agriculture said during the last season out of 11,552 tonnes, at least 7,551 tonnes were sold to local processing factories for winemaking with 2,205 tonnes being sold on retail market.
“About 1,796 tonnes were exported to neighbouring Kenya,” the minister noted.
The minister insisted that the demand for both wine making and table grapes in the local market are relatively high, but authorities will keep on exploring new markets especially in the neighbouring countries.
Hasunga’s clarification followed concern from the lawmaker that the grapes produced in Dodoma had no reliable markets.
Bura said the farmers are investing heavily and that the cost of production is high.
She requested the government to highlight strategies to ensure reliable markets for grapes production in the country. Responding, the minister said the government has also been using its diplomatic missions all around the world to market grape production in Dodoma.
“The government will continue helping to secure markets through other means including the bilateral and trade agreements it signs with foreign countries,” he said.
Nonetheless, the minister said the state has been encouraging local investors and farmers to process their products in an attempt to add value to at least 15 tonnes from 2.25 tonnes per acre.
Grapes are widely produced in Dodoma but crop studies show there are potentials for it to be farmed in other regions including Singida, Tabora, Mara, Manyara, Tanga, Iringa and Ruvuma. During the last season, some 2,079 hectares were farmed in Dodoma.