Govt to boost tobacco growing communities to boost incomes

16Jul 2019
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Govt to boost tobacco growing communities to boost incomes

PRIME Minister KassimMajaliwa has said the government is working to find markets for Tanzania’s produced tobacco to boost incomes and improve the welfare of farmers.

He made the statement on Sunday when addressing tobacco stakeholders during a meeting which was held in Tabora region. He said the government has already negotiated with several countries including Egypt and Vietnam that have promised to purchase the crop.

The Premier asserted that talks are ongoing with a number of companies that buys tobacco from Tanzania, so that they add the amount of tobacco they purchase from farmers. He was optimistic that farmers will get good profits once their tobacco is sold in bulk at once.

“Tanzanian tobacco farmers are likely to generate good income if companies procures huge amount of the crop. Farmers are limited to cultivate more of the crop over fears of market although they have the ability to produce enough for exports”, he said.

Majaliwa said the government is consulting on the major tobacco buyers—Tanzania Leaf Tobacco Company (TLTC) so that it continues purchasing the crop. He said the company had in previous months announced its intention to stop buying tobacco from farmers in Tanzania.

He however informed tha stakeholders that the government of Tanzania and Malawi are in talks to enable Malawian companies to purchase the crop.

“Be patient as we work to ensure you have a reliable tobacco market, during his recent tour in Malawi, President John Magufuli convinced buyers from Malawi to procure tobacco from Tanzania”, said the Premier.

In April this year, the then Agriculture Deputy Minister, Innocent Bashungwa told the National Assembly that talks are on-going between Tanzania and members of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) for signing of bilateral agreement for export of tobacco to the countries.

He said the agreement will enable Tanzania to export its tobacco to Egypt and Alergia among others, at affordable tax rates.

Bashungwa said the talks which at advanced stages are pioneered by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation and Ministry of Agriculture.

The Deputy Minister explained that tobacco farmers in Tanzania had since 2014/2015 stopped cultivating the most selling variety of the crop—‘Dark Fire Cured Tobacco -DFC’ which originates from Moshi in Kilimanajro region over lack of reliable markets.The Dark Fire Cured Tobacco is mainly produced in Namtumbo and Songea-Rural districts in Ruvuma region.

He said the government is consulting a private company—Premium Active Tanzania Limited (PATL) to buy and export tobacco to COMESA countries.

He however noted that Tanzania’s tobacco is sold at high prices in Egypt and Algeria markets due to higher export tax rates which make it difficult to compete with similar tobacco varieties from Uganda and Kenya.

Major Tanzanian exports include ores and minerals, manufactured products, foods, mineral fuels and commercial crops such as cashew nuts, tobacco, coffee, tea and cotton.

Tanzania is the second largest tobacco producer in Africa after Malawi.

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