Tanzania: Agriculture Ministry to Focus On Irrigation Schemes

NEXT year's budget of the Ministry of Agriculture will focus on investing on irrigation schemes and seed production, according to Deputy Minister Hussein Bashe.

He informed the National Assembly here that the plan was to boost agricultural production in the country.

He disclosed this when responding to a question from Kibiti lawmaker Twaha Mpembenwe, who in his supplementary question wanted to know government's plan to improve quality of cashew nuts in Coast Region.

Mr Mpembenwe argued that cashew nuts in Coast Region were of poor quality as compared to those grown in Tandahimba, thus not attracting good prices.

Mr Bashe told the National Assembly that a team of experts from the ministry is now in the field to find out a root causes for the problem, adding that once the study is completed, the ministry would be in a better position to address the problem.

Earlier in his basic question, the MP sought to know why government should not declare that all auctions for cashew nuts be held at the same particular period in order to avoid price inflation.

Mr Bashe argued that the government would continue applying the Tanzania Mercantile Exchange (TMX) system in auctioning agricultural produce in order to ensure that auctions are conducted at the same period during harvest season in order to increase competition and transparency.

Through the Cashew nuts Board, Tanzania Cooperative Development Commission (TCDC) in collaboration with cooperative unions have started implementing the TMX system.

"In order to ensure that a farmer gets a better price, the government supervises the issue of quality of cashew nuts and other produce in the market and ensuring transparency in conducting auctions," he said.

In implementing this, the government has also put in a place a system whereby buyers of cashew nuts and sesame are registered before harvest season in order to attract many buyers who would compete for prices as per quality of the produce.

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