Tanga — SISAL which is a popular cash crop in Tanga Region is contributing almost 67 per cent of the region's annual income, thus making it the most important cash crop for economic development in the area.
The Director General of the Tanzania Sisal Board (TSB), Hamisi Mapinda, said that though sisal production in the region had declined as compared to the 1970s and 1980s, the crop remains an important cash crop in the region.
According to Mr Mapinda, the average annual income for Tanga region was 765bn/- of which sisal alone contributed more than half of the general income. He said that was a clear sign that sisal was still important and most dependable cash crop in the region and country-wide and therefore there was urgent need to revive it by any cost.
He, therefore, urged the government and political leaders to sensitize residents so that they engage in sisal production through small scale farmers' sisal growing scheme introduced by Katani Limited.
"Previously, sisal was grown by rich people or big foreign companies, therefore, some people still have the misconception that only rich people are able to grow sisal, but through small scale schemes, it was proved beyond doubt that even locals can grow it...so let us sensitize them.
We have enough farming experts to give them support," he said. Mr Mapinda said production of sisal by small farmers was the favourable way because countries like Brazil have been using small scale farmers and succeeded to produce more sisal than any other country in the world.
The DG noted that if the government had to put more efforts on sisal farming, then it will provide employment to many unemployed Tanzanians. He said his office will continue to make sure that sisal production in the country increased by reviving old farms and introducing the crop in other regions like those in Lake Zone where it seems to grow well.
He praised Tanga regional commissioner's office for its efforts in wooing investors and local people to grow sisal as it organized a big sisal stakeholders' meeting last year which was a success.