Govt forms grape crop viability research team

12Feb 2020
Correspondent
Dodoma
The Guardian
Govt forms grape crop viability research team

​​​​​​​THE government has formed a 12-man team to carry out research on grapes, whether the crop is beneficial to the farmers and in terms of government revenue.

The team will take 10 days to do its work, as it is directed to find out the extent of diseases that afflict the crop.

This was revealed here yesterday by the Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Hussein Bashe when speaking at a grape stakeholders meeting.

The crop grown in Dodoma Region is the backbone of the regional economy and there was every reason to put in place strategic plans to develop the crop, he said.

"The 12-man team chaired by Gingu Mibavu from the policy and planning unit of the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) will do the work jointly for one week and tender its report.

“We hope it will help us to know the number of grape farmers as well as the challenges they face, including challenges faced by processors. Hence it will help us a lot in our strategies,” the deputy minister noted.

Another government strategy is to revive all water dams constructed for irrigation of grape farms in three districts that cultivate the crop, namely Bahi, Chamwino and Dodoma.

He called upon grape farmers to form cooperative societies in order to access loans from financial institutions.

Catherine Mwambe, the Director of Doniya Estate which processes grapes, said levies were a hindrance to wine producers.

"In a single day come more than five institutions coming to collect levies. We do not even get a profit, all the money ends up just paying various levies,” the director lamented.

The cost of production is high and the local grape market is still small, in which case the government needs to intervene and set up a friendly environment in the grapes business, she added.

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