Moshi — The government has suspended the importation of rice on the grounds that the country produced more than it needs in the previous agricultural season.
The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Mathew Mtigumwe, said here that while the country's annual demand for rice was 900,000 tonnes, local production for this year reached 2.2 million tonnes, that is, double the demand.
He said the statistics meant that Tanzania had a surplus production of over 1.3 million tonnes of rice.
"This makes Tanzania among the top five countries in Sub-Sahara in rice production," said Mr Mtigumwe. The other countries, according to him, are Nigeria, Madagascar, Mali and Guinea.
Meanwhile, the representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica), Mr Toshio Nagase, whose organization is about to implement a mega project to increase the productivity, said over 15,000 growers of rice are expected to benefit, hence uplifting thousands from poverty.
Ms Hadija Hassan, who is a beneficiary of the project, said their productivity has soared from being able to produce three rice bags to 56 bags per acre.
"Now, our main problem is lack of market," she said.
"We ask the government to look on the possibilities of providing us with reliable markets so that we can continue benefiting from agriculture," she said.