TANZANIA – The Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) Hombolo Centre has received 100m/- (US$ 42,500) from the government for the development of quality sorghum seeds in a bid to transform the agriculture sector.

Speaking during an interview with the Daily News TZ, Dr Joel Meliyo, TARI Hombolo Centre Manager revealed that the funding was given by President Samia Suluhu to boost sorghum farming in regions with unpredictable weather, especially Dodoma, Singida, Simiyu, and Shinyanga.

Currently, Tanzania produces approximately 0.5 million tons annually and the farmers are producing mainly for subsistence.

According to researchers, the low production is attributed to a lack of information regarding commercial markets for the crop as well as limited quality seeds for satisfactory yields.

For his part, the Research and Innovation Coordinator Dr Eliud Kongola said that during this year’s farming season, TARI Hombolo has conducted various researches to determine various challenges facing sorghum farmers.

He noted that through the research, the researchers have collected natural seeds of sorghum, to preserve genetics for research use as well as develop superior varieties with high productivity.

“We are continuing with research in the sorghum crop where we are currently looking at planting spaces, it is an important test because it will help increase productivity in the production of agricultural products,” he said.

“Sorghum is the crop that is being cultivated most because it can tolerate drought, we expect that the studies we are conducting will bring positive results to individual farmers and the nation as a whole if well used by farmers,” he added.

In addition, the researchers said that through the funds, Tanzanian farmers should also expect to get productive technologies, good seeds, and good agricultural principles since the Research Centre is researching wheat, millet, and breeding.

The center is also collaborating with our research centers in the country in researching other crops such as sunflowers, cassava, and sweet potatoes which will also benefit farmers.

Dr. Meliyo further said that TARI Hombolo Centre also provides training to farmers on how to produce sorghum and sunflower efficiently as well as providing quality seeds that are better than the local ones which are economically unproductive.

“We are continuing with research in the sorghum crop where we are currently looking at planting spaces, it is an important test because it will help increase productivity in the production of agricultural products,” he said.

The move was positively received by farmers with Rabia Chikitu, a farmer from Hombolo saying that President Samia is committed to making a revolution in the agricultural sector.

He added that the president has shown commitment, following the recent move to increase the agricultural budget and ensure the availability of subsidized inputs as well as quality seeds.

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