TANZANIA – The Tanzania National Service (JKT) has embarked on a robust project aimed at boosting the production of sunflower and palm oil in joint efforts to support the government in solving the shortage of edible oil in the country.
This follows the current effort by the government to boost the cultivation and production of oilseeds in a bid to halt the importation cost of edible oil which costs the country TSH470bn (US$201M) every year.
Records depict that the country’s current demand for edible oil stands at 650,000 tonnes annually while production capacity is estimated at only 290,000 tonnes, meaning, there is a deficit of 360,000 tonnes.
According to the Daily News, the project was implemented last year in October. The army has earmarked 1000 acres for each with a target to produce over 1300 tonnes of sunflower and palm oil seedlings.
In the ambitious project, the army has so far cultivated 700 acres of sunflower oil seeds in Kongwa District as well as at Chenene Village in the Chamwino District of Dodoma Region.
As for palm oil, Brigadier General Hassan Mabena, the JKT Head of Administration expressed that JKT has planted seeds at least on 800 acres at its 821 KJ- Bulombora Camp in Kigoma Region
Brig Gen Mabena said that the army had decided to venture into the crucial project to supplement several efforts being undertaken by the government to overcome the shortage of cooking oil in the country.
Brigadier General Mabena who doubles as the JKT Chairperson of the Strategic Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Development, said JKT decided to chip in and add muscles to the government’s efforts that are being implemented through diverse agricultural institutions.
He added that JKT was very determined and would stand at the forefront to work round the clock in cooperation with the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) to produce improved seed varieties.
Brigadier General Mabena unveiled that the move would enable the farmers in the sunflower and palm oil sector to improve their crop production and productivity.
Speaking earlier, the Acting Commandant of 834 Makutupora JKT Camp, Major James Macheta said they have so far cultivated a total of 590 acres of sunflower oil seeds at the areas, out of the 1000 acres that have been earmarked for the production of the important oil-producing crop at the camp.
JKT is under the Ministry of Defence and National Service (MoDNS) mandated to nurture Tanzania youth to become responsible and patriotic citizens as well as engage in productive and economic activities.