TANZANIA – The government plans to set aside US$260M to boost the production of quality-improved seeds as the country commits to ensuring 75% of seeds are locally produced by 2025.
Hussein Bashe, the Minister for Agriculture hinted while speaking during the just concluded Africa Food Systems Forum 2023, noting that the investment is part of the government’s plan to halt seed imports.
According to Bashe, in 2020/21, Tanzania’s capacity to produce seed locally was at 20% of the actual demand.
However, through raft measures, the country can now produce 60,000 tonnes which is equivalent to 50% of the demand for seeds, which now stands at 120,000 tonnes.
He added that the demand represents the actual demand, but the country still has the potential to produce more and even become an exporter to neighboring countries.
The minister hailed the private sector seed-producing companies for their efforts in producing quality improved seeds and ultimately increasing the number compared to previous years.
Bashe noted that the government recognizes the private sector’s efforts adding that the government will invest in research to be able to develop improved seeds that will be given to the private sector for multiplication.
“This year, we have started to put up irrigation facilities and very soon we will build infrastructure on our public farms to have pivot technology that will be used for the production of seeds,” Bashe emphasized.
He added that the country has 17 public farms that outsource experts from the private sector to help the country produce quality seeds.
Early this year, the Tanzanian Agricultural Agency (ASA), a state-owned Seed Agency invested in new irrigation infrastructures at its seed multiplication farms to boost the production of improved seeds for different crops.
According to the agency, the development would enable the country to increase seed production as the absence of such facilities was incapacitating seed production efforts, especially now that the impacts of climate change are halting food production globally.
Speaking during the inauguration event, Dr. Sophia Kashenge, the Chief Executive Officer for ASA Tabora Region revealed that Three main farms belonging to the agency,
One in Tabora (400h), another in Morogoro (200h), and a final one in Arusha (200 hectares) will benefit from the project estimated to cost TZS15bn/ (US$6.4M).