TANZANIA Cotton Board (TCB) has asked the government to support contract farming, describing it as the best strategy to help farmers tap maximum benefits of the cash crop.
TCB is the cotton regulatory board responsible for promoting the crop's production, processing and marketing.
TCB acting Director General Gabriel Mwalo said in Dar es Salaam over the weekend that there were many untapped potentials in contract farming but lack of stringent regulations and inadequate government support impede investors from investing adequately into the system.
"It is high time the government looked into the problems that affect contract farming with special emphasis on cotton," he said, adding that the government should intervene and create enabling environment to ensure sustainable development of the crop.
Uncertified cotton seeds, use of little or no use of fertilizers and lack of farming machinery are some of the problems haunting the cotton sector in the country.
Tanzania earned 159.3 million US dollars (over 250bn/-) from cotton exports during the year ending June 2013, according to the Bank of Tanzania's Monthly Economic Review for July 2013.
Currently, Tanzania is Africa's fourth-largest producer of cotton after Mali, Burkina Faso and Egypt, according to the Food and Agricultural Organization.
But TCB believes that with more efforts to raise productivity from the current level of between 250 and 300 kilogrammes per acre to 1,500 kilogrammes per acre, the country would move some steps forward.