Mwanza — COTTON stakeholders from nine regions meet here on Wednesday for an emergency meeting ordered by President Jakaya Kikwete to resolve various snags that have been hindering the sector's progress for many years.
Stakeholders penciled to attend the crucial meeting hail from Tanzania's cotton growing zone that comprises Mwanza, Shinyanga, Simiyu, Geita, Mara and Tabora. Others are Singida, Kagera and Kigoma, according to the official statement issued by the Tanzania Cotton Board (TCB) Deputy Director, Mr Gabriel Mwalo.
He said that President Kikwete issued a directive for an urgent meeting on September 11, this year, during a summary meeting of his seven- day tour of Lake Zone.
"Mr Kikwete stressed that, stakeholders in cotton farming resolve their differences that have stifled cotton farming development," said the Deputy Director.
Besides the meeting, the President also issued a stern warning to politicians who have been reportedly opposed to various development projects, the government introduced to develop cotton, including contract farming which assures a farmer of inputs, good markets and quality seeds.
"All politicians who have been involved in one way or another to disrupt harmony in the cotton sector should stop immediately or else the government will take punitive measures against them," he warned.
The politicians' "black hand" in the sector contributed immensely to a 40 per cent production drop after farmers failed to embrace contract farming that assures them inputs, reliable markets and quality seeds.
Quality seeds produced by Quton (T) Limited are capable of producing up to 1,500 kilogrammes per acre as opposed to only 300 kilogrammes produced by traditional seeds.
"As response to the President's order, Tanzania Cotton Board has organised a regional meeting from Wednesday September 18 to Friday September 20, 2013 in the city."
The meeting's objective, according to the board deputy, would be to plan and discuss the next cotton season in respect to contract farming and quality seed implementation in the coming season.
Also eligible to attend the urgent meetings include regional and district commissioners, district executive directors and district agricultural and livestock development officers (DALDOS) apart from ginners, buyers and processors of cotton products.