They were speaking at the grape growers’ day held at Central Tanzania Wine Company (Cetawico) located in Hombolo on the outskirts of Dodoma Municipality.
Magomola John, a grape farmer in Dodoma said that many farmers incur a big loss due to buying of substandard pesticides which are imported by unscrupulous traders.
“As grape farmers, we appeal to the government to plug the loopholes that allow fake pesticides get into the country,” the farmer appealed.
Another farmer, Daniel Sambole also urged extension officers to leave their offices and work with farmers to improve grape productivity.
He also complained that poor price offered by wine processing companies has been demoralising farmers in the area.
Dodoma District Commissioner, Christine Mndeme, cited a shortage of extension officers in the area as a challenge that needs to be addressed for the benefit of the crop and farmers’ wellbeing.
“We are working hard to ensure that farmers are accessed with extension officers, hence improve production of grapes in the region and the country at large,” she said.
Director of the winery plant, Dr Fiorenzo Chesini, pledged that his company will continue working close with farmers for the development of the farming sector as well as supporting communities living around the winery plant.
Grape farming and wine industry in Tanzania started in the early 1960s. Despite Dodoma being the only region growing grapes in the country, farmers are still struggling with poverty and less courage to increase production.
However, the demand for grapes domestically seems to be very high this is because there is a significant amount of table grapes and concentrated bulk wine sometimes being imported mostly during grapes offseasons.
There are two harvest seasons annually starting February to March and in August coming to September, this is another uniqueness of Dodoma climatic weather conditions whereby there are two seasons instead of one as it is the common experience around the world.