TANZANIA – Ministry of Agriculture seeks to hike edible oil import duty from the current 25 percent to 35% in a bid to protect local producers, Daily News TZ reports.

The Minister for Agriculture, Hussein Bashe revealed while addressing the Parliament, adding that they had already communicated with the Ministry of Finance and Planning to increase the tariff in the forthcoming financial year.

We have contacted our colleagues from the Ministry of Finance. We have asked them to increase the tax on imported oil from 25 percent to 35 percent and to be charged VAT of 18 percent,” said the minister when he was winding up his ministry’s budget proposal for the financial year 2023/24.

The move follows the recent government’s initiative to boost local edible oil production in a bid to halt the importation cost of edible oil which costs the country TSH470bn (US$201M) every year.

As a result, the government took deliberate steps to include edible oil crops, especially palm oil and sunflower oil in the list of strategic crops to maximize production.

According to the government, the country imports 55.4% of the local demand which amounts to 360,000 tonnes against the local production of 290,000 tonnes.

However, the Ministry of Agriculture has laid out measures to boost production including working with Tanzania Agricultural Seed Agency (ASA) and Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) to distribute quality seeds to farmers.

Tanzania eyes to be self-sufficient in wheat by 2025/26

Meanwhile, the Tanzanian Ministry of Agriculture has taken steps to ensure the country will be self-sufficient in wheat by producing more wheat seeds for farmers to meet local rice demand by 2025/26, Hussein Bashe, the Minister for Agriculture has revealed.

The minister was addressing the fact that the country imports five million tonnes of wheat per year, but the country has the potential to feed itself if quality seeds are provided to farmers.

He unveiled that Tanzania can meet local demand if farmers get at least 50,000 tonnes of seeds, which is the amount required to meet the local demand.

According to Bashe, the ministry is also planning to spend at least 155bn/- (US$65.9M) in research and development to improve crop production. He said an additional 4bn/- (US$1.7) is required to procure and supply improved wheat seeds among smallholder farmers.

We have written to all the wheat companies that they should sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the government that will require them to buy wheat from domestic producers before considering importing the products,” he said.

The minister intimated that more efforts will be put in place to make sure that the country sufficiently produces wheat to meet domestic demands by among other initiatives reviving the wheat farms in Manyara.

Last year, the government earmarked a total of 400,000 hectares of land for the cultivation of wheat, the move which is aimed at ending the shortage of the crop in the country

In 2020, wheat production for Tanzania was 65,000, while the country produced 70,000 tonnes of wheat in 2021. Tanzania imports between 800,000 tonnes and 1 million tonnes of wheat annually.

Bashe stated that the move is possible since Tanzania has recorded continuous agricultural sector growth and is considered largely self-sufficient in its main staple crop maize.

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