Tanzania: New Cassava Varieties Attract More Farmers

Lindi — FARMERS in Lindi region plan to embark on cassava farming businesses to generate more profit.

The plan comes after the farmers were mobilised, through a farming training on a firm field grown with eight improved cassava varieties at Kiwalala Ward of Mtama District in Lindi region.

The farmers had gone to study on quality characteristics of the improved cassava varieties that have been developed by Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) Naliendele Centre.

"Basing on what I have learnt on this firm field training, I have decided, to embark on cassava farming businesses as from the next farming season," said Bendita Mkanga, a farmer at Mtama District.

The farmer further said the improved cassava varieties grown at the field were of higher quality compared to the old local varieties widely used at the area.

"We have seen that the improved cassava varieties mature quickly, they yield more, they are not easily attacked by diseases," she said.

Mkanga and the rest of the farmers in the area have been growing cassava without profit due to low use of farm technologies and best farming techniques.

"Most of us farmers used old local varieties that are of low quality and easily attacked by pests and diseases," said Sinde Kirumbe, a farmer at Kiwalala Ward in Mtama.

Through the farming training, the farmers were encouraged to use the improved cassava planting materials, using good agricultural practices to increase production.

On the other hand, the farmers asked TARI Naliendele to provide them with the planting materials, conduct more trainings on modern farming technologies to help them improve production.

"We sincerely call upon the agriculture researchers to provide us with quick accessibility and availability of improved planting materials for not to be able to improve production," said one Bakari Namkunda, a farmer in Mtama.

Agriculture Researcher with TARI Naliendele, Mr Festo Masisila said the improved planting materials can be obtained from TARI Naliendele and other centres country wide.

Apart from the institute centres, Mr Masisila said the seed can be obtained from certified and approved seed producers in Southern Zone.

Mr Masisila said the TARI Naliendele has developed over eight improved cassava varieties suitable for cassava farming in the Southern Zone area (Ruvuma, Lindi and Mtwara.

He named some of the improved cassava varieties such as TARICASS 1, TARICASS 2, Kiroba and Chereko.

The improved cassava varieties yield an average of 10 per cent compared to the old local varieties calling the farmers to use the improved varieties to Increase production.

The National Cassava Development Strategy (NCDS) 2020-2030 calls for facilitation of improved technologies to boost cassava production and Increase production from 8.3 million tonnes per hectare to 24 million tonnes by 2030.

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