TANZANIA Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA) in Dodoma has announced the formation of a special task force that will prepare a viable road map to revamp grapes cultivation and wine processing.
The task force, according to Cluster Manager, Mr Ringo Iringo is to bring the private sector, the government and stakeholders to implement a special strategic plan that will increase the production of grapes and wine-making in the country.
Moreover, the focus is also to develop grapes growing skills among farmers as well as ensuring that there are enough professional researchers for getting hybrid seeds varieties that will enable wine processors in the country to pack wine brands with recommended sugar content.
"Most grapes farmers are still using recycled seeds due to the absence of reliable availability of grape seeds, and bad enough, in Tanzania, a huge percentage of extension officers are far away from knowing agronomic practices of cultivating grapes," he said adding that the situation has continued to weaken the sector.
He added that growing grapes was a little bit expensive contrary to other crops, which means farmers should have enough capital for taking good care for their farms.
As of the latest statistics, there are at least 1,696 grape farmers scattered in different 25 villages of Dodoma municipality and Bahi districts with an estimated annual production rate of 10,052 tonnes.
However, in similar efforts, last year the Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) injected to the Tanzania Agriculture Research Institute (TARI-Makutupora) about 297.906m/- for overhauling and modernization of scientific apparatuses at the Institute's laboratory, with an eye to advance wine processing in the country.
According to the head of TARI-Makutupora centre, Dr Cornel Masawe, upon kicking off of operations, the state -of -the art lab will enable the institute to run a series of training to empower farmers on how best to cultivate the crop more professionally, but also, how to process grapes into juice, being part of efforts to add value for their products.