TANZANIA – The Tanzania Agricultural Seed Agency (ASA) has embarked on the distribution of 20,000 bunches of palm oil seedlings to various institutions and individuals in the Tanga region, in a bid to boost local edible oil production.
According to IPP Media, the distribution is aimed at increasing the production of ASA’s palm oil seedlings multiplication farm at Mwele, in response to the government’s directives on increasing the production of vital seedlings, to ensure the crop is being professionally cultivated.
Recently, the government committed to boosting the cultivation and production of palm oil in a bid to halt the importation cost of edible oil which costs the country TSH470bn (US$201M) every year.
As a result, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa directed the state-owned seed Agency to increase its palm oil seedlings production capacity by at least to the tune of 300 000 a year.
The increased capacity is envisioned to meet the growing demand for seedlings which in turn will help the country to squeeze the deficit of edible oil in the local market.
The country’s current demand for edible oil stands at an estimated 650,000 tonnes annually while the production is estimated at 290,000 tonnes, forcing the country to import 360,000 tonnes to bridge the deficit.
Dr. Sophia Kashenge, ASA’s chief executive officer noted that the Agency was working round the clock to meet the set government’s targets over the multiplication of the seedlings.
“The ongoing exercise focuses on increasing the acreage of this farm from 600 to 900 acres,” she expressed
Earlier, Anthony Mavunde, the Agriculture Minister revealed that the state is employing strategies to ensure sustainable production of palm oil seedlings, adding that professional seed multiplication takes the front.
According to Mavunde, the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) and other private companies have come up with the production of an improved palm seed called TENERA, with the potential to produce oil three times more than the DURA variety which is cultivated by approximately 90 percent of farmers.
“As of January 2023, TARI in partnership with a private company has produced 14.14 million tonnes of seeds of which 11.59 million tonnes have been produced by TARI and 2.54 million by private companies including FELISA, NDF, and Yangu Macho Group Ltd,” he said.
He further noted that of the 14.14 million tonnes, 9.60 million have been distributed to various institutions including JKT and Prisons, and all eight councils in Kigoma Region.