THE agriculture sector growth in the year 2018 was lower compared to the previous year, despite good weather in most parts of the country, bulk procurement of fertilizers which reduced the cost and improved supply of farm inputs.
The Bank of Tanzania (BoT) annual report 2018/19, agriculture sector that comprises of crops, livestock, forestry, fishing and agricultural support services, continued to perform well albeit growing at a slower pace of 5.3 per cent in 2018 compared with 5.9 per cent in the year before.
During the reference period, crops production subactivity grew by 5.0 per cent compared with 6.4 per cent in 2017. Production of food crops was estimated at 16.4 million tonnes in 2018/19 crop season, slightly lower than 16 .9 million tonnes produced in 2017/18.
Meanwhile, production of traditional export crops depicted a mixed trend in 2018/19 whereas coffee, cotton and tea increased, while that of cashew nuts, tobacco and sisal declined. The increase in production of coffee, cotton and tea was attributed to favourable weather and price improvement.
In addition, improved coffee production was attributed to high crop cycle, while that of cotton relates to utilization of improved seeds coupled with access to other inputs on credit. Meanwhile, production of tobacco, cashew nuts and sisal declined on account of low demand.
Livestock subactivity maintained a growth of 4.9 per cent in 2018 as in 2017 and accounted for 7.6 per cent of GDP growth. The number of livestock sold in the registered markets, production of meat and milk products and quantity of eggs sold increased in 2018 compared with the preceding year.
Specifically, the number of cattle sold rose by 6 .7 per cent to 30.3 million, goats by 6 .2 per cent to 18.8 million, and sheep by 3.9 per cent to 5.3 million in 2018.
Forestry activity expanded by 4.9 per cent, higher than 4.8 per cent in 2017 attributed to continued government efforts to oversee forestry activities coupled with high demand for wood and wood products in construction.