“Repossession of farmers’ properties will be done in the same manner we returned properties belonging to the Tanzania Sisal Board. We will not victimize anyone in the process which starts today,” he stated, inaugurating a new sisal board building in Tanga.
He told the audience of the government’s decision to confirm TSB as a full board, playing a higher role in regulating the sub-sector.
Majaliwa reiterated the government’s intention to restore the cash crop, calling upon framers especially those in Tanga Region to mobilize themselves in view of the current revival efforts of sisal farms.
“Sisal is money; local authorities should prepare seedbeds for germination of seedlings which will be distributed to farmers for free. The government is keen to provide you with the necessary support such as quality seeds and extension services,” he directed.
Small and middle scale farmers in every region with areas having fertile soil that suits the crop need to embark on its cultivation, he said.
Majaliwa tasked TSB to identify farms that should be returned to farmers for sisal cultivation as well as idle forest areas in the districts so that the Lands ministry advises the president to distribute those areas to the people.
The government has consulted various stakeholders in financial institutions and put in place procedures that will enable small scale farmers to access agricultural loans, he said.
“Sisal is important in the country as it benefits farmers at all levels. Sisal is the economy of people in Tanga Region. It has so far helped in improving the welfare of many people. The cash crop was previously cultivated in 12 regions but it is now cultivated in just four regions,” he pointed out.
He said Tanzania was among leading sisal producers in the world in the 1960s with more than 235,000 tonnes annually. During the time sisal demand in world markets stood at 550,000 tonnes, he surprised the gathering.
Authorities in regions previously cultivating the crop need to revive its cultivation, he said, urging regional authorities to use all sorts of media outlets to sensitize farmers to engage in commercial framing of the crop.
Deputy Minister for Agriculture Omar Mgumba used the occasion to thank the premier for his great efforts in the supervision of the agricultural sector including the revival of sisal cultivation.
Ummy Mwalimu, the minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, commended the premier for his management of the development agenda in Tanga Region.
Earlier, Lushoto MP Rashidi Shangazi said the fifth phase government led by President John Magufuli is doing a great job in returning sisal farms to the people.
Regional commissioners of Coast, Morogoro and Kilimanjaro regions lauded the government for reviving the sisal crop, urging the Ministry of Agriculture to work with stakeholders in assisting farmers to develop the crop.
The sisal industry in Tanzania employed over 100,000 people in the past, then having a total population of around ten million people. Tonnage slipped to 40,000 tonnes annually during the 1970s to the 1980s.
In August 2019, the government annulled the possession of 15,738 hectares of sisal plantations held by a private investor as he had failed to observe conditions that he develops the farms.
In August 2017, President John Magufuli had ordered repossession of all farms that have remained idle for a long time.