TANZANIA – The Cereals and Other Produce Board (CPB) has identified 25 areas where it will build cassava processing facilities, as part of efforts to boost cassava production and ensure markets for local farmers.
Mr John Maige, the board’s acting director general, speaking during a workshop with editors from different media houses revealed that the processed cassava is expected to be blended with maize flour, targeting the Lake Zone market where residents are reported to prefer the mix.
According to him, the first plant which will process 12 tonnes per day is in the installation stage at the Mkata area in the Handeni District of Tanga Region, adding that the plant will benefit over 6,000 cassava farmers.
Earlier, the Tanzanian Government under the Ministry of Agriculture announced a plan to implement a sustainable cassava strategy targeting a 550% increase in hectarage of improved cassava seed variety by 2030.
The plan sought 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.
Founded in 2009, CPB is a parastatal charged with the task of purchasing from peasants and commercial farmers of both cereals and other produces then processing and packaging the same for both local consumption and exports.
The board was formed after the collapse of the General Agricultural Products and Exports Board (Gapex) and the National Milling Corporation Ltd (NMC), whose functions were mainly purchasing, milling, and exportation of cereals and other produce.
The collapse of Gapex and NMC created a vacuum in fulfilling commercial and regulatory functions, thus affecting the production, processing, and marketing of cereals and oil seeds.
In addition, few private traders proceeded to dominate the market hence affecting farmers’ prices.
To rectify the undesirable situation, the government decided to establish the CPB to undertake commercial and promotional functions in cereals and other produce.
Mr Evans Mwanibingo, the board’s acting director of commercial services said that CPB is planning to buy 115,000 tonnes of produce worth Sh100 billion (US$42M) in accelerating the processing of the agricultural products in the next financial year.
In optimism, Mwanibingo revealed that the budget increased from Sh68 billion (US$28.5) set aside in the current financial year in which the board targeted buying 80,000 tonnes.