Tanzania-The Tanzanian Government under the Ministry of Agriculture is implementing a sustainable cassava strategy targeting a 550% increase in hectarage of improved cassava seed variety by 2030.
The plan seeks to expand the 40,000 hectares planted in 2020 to 260,000 hectares in 2030 and to increase the number of improved cassava seed cuttings from the current 80 million to 1.6 billion per annum.
Cassava production in Tanzania has increased from 5.9 million tonnes in 2008/09 to 8.2 million tonnes in 2018/19
The demand for cassava crops is increasing following cassava export prospects that are expected to be in good shape boosted by rising global cereal prices as well as the demand for cassava starch in pharmaceuticals manufacturing.
According to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), worldwide demand for cassava starch may expand at a pace of 3.1% per year with growth rates of 4.2% in Asia, 3.4% in Latin America, and 2.3% in Africa.
With the increasing global demand, local farmers are still underperforming due to setbacks such as limited access to improved seed variety, pests, and diseases, limited agro-machinery as well as poor agronomic practices.
The Cassava sub-sector in Tanzania plays a key role in the country’s GDP and employs at least 1.3 million smallholder farmers hence a key player in poverty reduction.
The move by the government to exploit potential in cassava production comes months after various stakeholders in the value chain sighed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Tanzania Agriculture Research Institute (TARI) that was involved in the implementation of a robust project to boost production.
The stakeholders involved in the implementation of the strategic plan include the Mennonite Economic Development Associate (MEDA), the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), and the Ministry of Agriculture.
According to Stephen Magige, the county project manager at MEDA, the MOU has already been entered by the key stakeholders to help solve the most entrenched problems facing agriculture in Tanzania in a more innovative way.