Dodoma — DEPUTY Minister for Agriculture, Food and Cooperatives, Mr Adam Malima, has said plans are afoot to increase production of palm and sunflower oil locally in a bid to reduce importation of edible oil.
According to Mr Malima, the government would make several interventions including provision of subsidies to improve farming of the oil seeds. About 200,000 tonnes of crude oil is imported from Malaysia and other Far East countries.
The Deputy Minister was reacting to a supplementary question by Kigoma South MP, Mr David Kafulila, who sought to know what the government had done to improve farming and processing of palm oil in the country.
He said the government has over the years increased subsidies for development of palm oil to about 2bn/- from 200m/-.Mr Malima also commended CRDB Bank for issuing loans for processing of sunflower oil to the tune of 9bn/- and requested the bank to continue supporting the industry.
Speaking earlier in response to a basic question by Mr Kafulila, the Deputy Minister said the government had so far spent 92.106m/- in efforts to develop farming of palm oil in Kigoma region.
He said about 36.106m/- had been used to purchase four machines for pressing palm oil and two machines for processing the oil seeds in three wards in the region namely Buhanda, Businde and Kagera.
Mr Malima explained further that some 56m/- had been used through the District Agricultural Development Programmes (DADPs) to construct a market for palm oil products at Sunuka and Ilagala villages in Kigoma Rural.
He added that the government had in place a strategy to empower oil farmers with technology and business know-how on the cash crop to ensure that they reap considerably from the oil seed.