Tabling estimates in the National Assembly yesterday, Agriculture minister Hussein Bashe said the plan will empower farmers to venture into the cash crop, to cover the 400,000 tonnes edible oil deficit, where 12,000 tonnes of sunflower seeds are needed.
The ministry targets three million tons of sunflower crop by 2025 to meet 1.4m tonnes of edible oil production, as part of a long term plan. Edible oil prices were on the rise in cities like Dar es Salaam, Arusha and Mwanza, he pointed out.
A monthly economic review of the Bank of Tanzania issued two months ago noted that in Dar es Salaam sunflower edible oil was sold at 52,000/- for five litres, 35,000/- for three litres, 21,000/- for two litres, with consumers parting with 12,000/- for a liter, up from just around 5,000/- two years ago.
While edible oil demand stands at 650,000 tons per annum, just a half is produced locally, with sunflower accounting for the bulk of the local edible oil production at 90 per cent, the rest coming from oil palm, coconut, groundnuts, cotton and sesame.
The 2.4m hectare farms cultivated with sunflower will take up 12,000 tons of sunflower seeds to reach the needed tonnage, he said
In the 2022/23 fiscal year the ministry will operate a grant scheme to distribute 5,000 tons of sunflower improved seeds to which 11bn/- will be used to cover seed production costs, likely to be enhanced to 10,000 tons in the subsequent financial year and 15,000 tons in 2024/25 financial year
All this will be handled by the Agricultural Seed Agency (ASA) entering into contracts with private companies, he stated, hinting that efforts continue to get the Treasury to provide incentives for edible oil processing by waving value added tax (VAT).
That would take out 59.3bn/- from government revenues in the next three years, which the minister said will have the benefit of raising production capacity by factories to 100 percent from the current 30 percent. “The government will collect revenues through PAYE, income tax and levies,” he stated.
The minister proposed 751.12bn/- estimates for fiscal 2022/23, with 368.56bn/- intended for recurrent uses, airing plans for collaborating with the Tanzania Insurance Regulatory Authority (TIRA) to finalize agro-sector insurance in case of loss at the farm level, in storage or the way to markets.