Govt, stakeholders in strategic plans to revive grapes and wine

30Mar 2020
The Guardian
Govt, stakeholders in strategic plans to revive grapes and wine

THE Ministry of Agriculture in cooperation with key stakeholders from the private sector and Tanzania Agriculture Development Bank (TADB) are implementing special strategic plans seeking to revamp grapes cultivation and wine processing sector in Tanzania.

Deputy Minister for Agriculture Hussein Bashe.

Among others, the timely initiatives being propelled strongly by Deputy Minister for Agriculture Hussein Bashe, targets to impart local extension officers with relevant requisite agronomic practices.

Moreover, the focus is also to develop grapes growing skills among farmers as well as assuring for conduction of enough professional researches for getting hybrid seeds varieties that will enable wine processors in the country to bottle wine brands with recommended sugar content and aroma.

Giving an exclusive interview to 'The Guardian' over the weekend, cluster manager at the Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA) Ringo Iringo expressed that a special task team had been formed with a major task to prepare a viable road map to ensure the strategic plans bear fruits.

"Most grapes farmers are still using recycled seeds due to absence of reliable availability of grape seeds, and bad enough, in Tanzania big per cent of extension officers are far away from knowing agronomic practices for cultivation of grapes. This situation has for years stand as serious venom which continues to kill the crucial economic sector,” according to Iringo.

And he added, growing grapes was a little bit expensive contrary to other crops, which means the sector needs involving farmers to access enough capital for taking good care of their vineyards.

"Growing grapes need systematic and professional treatment throughout all stages un till during the harvestingseason. Grapes need to be grown in special trenches, whereby each hectare comprises 20 trenches, under special dimension of 2.5 meters from one trenches to another. Each trench consumes at least one lorry (5 tonnes) of fertilizers, often urea, during growing season, and later on termicide must be applied," detailed Dr Emmanuel Ulomi who is also a grapes specialist.

As of the latest statistics, there are at least 1,696 grapes farmers that scattered in different 25 villages of Dodoma municipality, Chamwino and Bahi districts with an estimated annual production rate of 10,052 tones.

However, in similar efforts, last year the Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) injected the Tanzania Agriculture Research Institute (TARI-Makutupora) with 297.906m/- for overhauling and modernization of scientific apparatuses at the Institute's laboratory, with an eye to advance wine processing in the country.

According to head of TARI-Makutupora centre, Dr Cornel Masawe, after start operating, the state –of –the art lab will enable the institute to run a series of training to empower farmers on how best to cultivate the crop more professionally, but also, how to process grapes into juice, being part of efforts to add value for their products.

"The lab will also be used to conduct thorough researches for producing hybrid grapes seed varieties, as well as ensuring the crop attract more farmers in all regions where it flourishes well;," he informed.

To start with, Dr Masawe unveiled that the state- owned institute has already disseminated knowledge on grapes agronomic practices to farmers and extension officers in Bunda, Geita and Same districts, some of the new areas where researches discovered that the crop can flourish successively, apart from Dodoma region.