Without divulging on the extended time, Agriculture minister Dr Charles Tizeba said the move seeks to encourage Tanzanian seed importers to start producing the seeds locally while also not turning the country into a dumpsite of foreign seeds.
“Those responsible for the importation will be given a certain time extension…after that they’ll have to start producing the seeds themselves,” emphasized the minister here yesterday during the launch of the Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute (TOSCI) board, emblem and website in Tengeru , Arumeru District.
According to Dr Tizeba, Tanzania had vast and fertile land, adding that it made no sense importing the seeds.
“This has to come to a stop as we have enough land, water and favourable climate which can all facilitate seed production in the country,” directed the minister.
He wondered why the most of the private seed companies continued importing the seeds for more than 15 years.
However, briefing the minister on the seeds importation trend earlier on, TOSCI director General Patrick Ngwediagi said between 60 and 75 per cent of the imported seeds had conformed to international standards.
He further revealed to the minister that the country’s seeds annual demand was 120, 000 tonnes while the supply stood at 60,000 tonnes.
On her part, TOSCI board chairperson Professor Susan Nchimbi-Msolla said the Seed Certification Institute had between March and December last year issued 1,120 importation and distribution permits to research institutions and seed companies in the country.
The total volume of the imported seeds totaled 18,258 tonnes, according to Prof Nchimbi-Msolla.
She further revealed that the institution will continue conducting crackdown on distributors of fake seeds in the market.
“This will include deploying seed inspectors across the region and countrywide in its efforts to address the proliferation of fake seeds in the market,” she said