Tanzania to import new wine grape varieties from S. Africa

29Jun 2020
The Guardian
Tanzania to import new wine grape varieties from S. Africa

​​​​​​​THE Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI), Makutupora Centre is set to introduce 13 new wine grape varieties from South Africa in efforts to boost grape production in the country.

Though placed second after South Africa for brewing best wines within the continent, there are only two wine grape varieties grown in Tanzania, Makutupora red and chenin white, a situation which limits the country’s ability to produce wider varieties of wines.

The varieties to be imported from South Africa, which is a mixture of red and white grafted scions, as well as root stocks are pinotage, cabinet saviugnon, syrah, merlot, durif and carignan.

Others are chardonnay, chenin black, semillon, ramsey, R99, R110 and S04.

Head of the centre, Dr. Cornel Masawe, told The Guardian in an exclusive interview that  the development aimed at elevating the country's wine sector, apart from also boosting grapes cultivation among farmers.

Importation of the hybrid varieties, according to Dr. Masawe, will go in tandem with numerous interventions to uplift cultivation of grapes within the country, a move which is anticipated to stimulate wine making industries from across the country.

Impeccable researches has proved that Tanzania has potential weather to produce grapes with high sugar contents, which is useful in processing wines of high alcoholic per cent (from 12 to 14 per cent) surpassing   the rest counties in the world where the crops is cultivated.

"Moreover, Tanzania is the only country in the globe with friendly weather which supports grapes to grow in two seasons within a year, an advantage which must be used accordingly," he expressed.

However, scientific facts also established that grapes grown in Tanzania (Dodoma) are more wine- worthy, in terms of good taste and aroma, than all other grown in rest part of the world.

Being the country's grapes and wine hub, Dodoma region is currently with at least three major wine factories- Aliko Vintage Co. Ltd, Central Tanganyika Wine Company (CETAWICO), and Dane Holding Company (DHC), and five other small scale plants scattered at different locations under ownership of farmers associations.

Globally, Tanzanias' wines are currently competing highly in the world market against famous brands from Italy, French, Germany, Britain, America, China and South Africa.

In further efforts to boost the wine sector, Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) has injected TARI- Makutupora Centre  with at least 297.906m/- for general renovation of the centre's laboratory.

Dr. Masawe  explained that, upon its completion, the laboratory is projected to play a paramount role in empowering local wine producers to bottle more high- quality wine varieties.

"The other programme we plan in  the future is conducting a series of theoretical and practical trainings to impart grapes farmers and extension officers with key knowledge to professionally   grow the prestigious cash crop ," he unveiled.

To start with, he said, the state- owned centre has already disseminated knowledge on recommended agronomic practices among grapes farmers and extension officers in Bunda, Geita and Same districts.

"Plans are also afoot to   empower farmers over modern ways to process their grapes into juice in order to ensure  additional values for their end -product," he elaborated.

For years, it had been   known that in Tanzania grapes flourish only in   Dodoma region, but recent researches had established that the prestigious cash crop can grow as well in Morogoro, Kilimanjaro, Tanga, Babati, Karatu, Tabora, Bunda, and Peramiho, which is another advantage for the country’s economy.

Among top wine varieties produced in Tanzania include Dompo, Saint Marry, Image, For You, Presidential Wine, Overmeer, Altar, Sharye and Dane NK Super Wine.