Tanzania: Suma JKT Moves to Curb Edible Oil Shortage

National Services Economic wing (Suma JKT) has embarked on sunflower farming, a move that would eventually play a role in addressing the shortage of edible oil in the country.

This was unveiled by the SUMA JKT Executive Director Col Petro Ngata during the ongoing Nane Nane fair held in the John Mwakangale grounds in Mbeya.

"As there is a shortage of edible oil, we have seen an importance of engaging in sunflower farming in our farms, this will help the country address the shortage," he said.

Sunflower is one of the strategic crops that are potential for the county's economy; others are cashew nuts, cotton, coffee, tobacco and sisal.

Col Ngata also commended the government for adding the agriculture budget in the fiscal year 2022/23, saying the initiative will help to boost the sector as it's a backbone of the country's economy.

Since the agriculture sector employs around 85 percent of Tanzanians, then it was important for the initiative that has been taken by the government. Farmers will benefit more from the budget that is now being implemented.

In the expo, the wing also provides public education among farmers on how they can do modern farming and earn more harvest by using small plots of land.

Apart from farming, Suma JKT also engages in livestock keeping and aquaculture projects.

"The projects are implemented in line with supporting the government target of having substantial contributions of agriculture, livestock and fishing sectors to the national economy," he said.

Available statistics have it that last year 2021/22 agriculture contributed 25 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), while the contribution of the Livestock and Fishing sector was recorded at 7 per cent and 1.8 per cent respectively.

For his part, the Suma JKT Director for Agriculture, Livestock and Fishing Colonel Peter Lushika said aquaculture projects apart from assuring the country of adequate accessibility of fish, also plays a role in addressing illegal fishing.

"We believe that if members of the public are well educated on the fish block farming, then there will be no illegal fishing in the country," he explained.

Last year, the SUMA JKT announced to have started implementing a mega fish production project, targeting 12 tons per month as well as producing more than 200,000 fish seeds.

The move also targeted to increase the supply of quality fish seeds as a key factor to the expansion of fish farming in the country.

This came in response to directives of President Samia Suluhu Hassan who instructed the ministry of Livestock and Fisheries to embark on fish seeds production projects in order to improve the fishing sector.

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