TANZANIA – Tanzanian research institutes have discovered new high-yielding palm oil seeds known as Terena set to boost the cultivation of the trees and production of edible oil in the country.
“President Dr. Samia Suluhu Hassan I would like to inform you that research institutes in the country have succeeded in discovering and experimenting with the cultivation of the palm oil tree seeds called Terena … this is great for our institutions,” Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said during the swearing-in ceremony of the leaders recently appointed by President Samia Suluhu Hassan at Chamwino State House in Dodoma.
The new variety has gone through trials in some of the cultivation areas in the country such as Kigoma, Kagera, Tabora, and Coastal regions, and has depicted promising outcomes.
According to Majaliwa, the government has been strategizing with the view to increasing local production of palm oil seeds so as to reduce dependence on importation and end price fluctuation.
Terena is a crossbreed between two different types of parents namely dura and pisifera palms.
The mother palm hybrid dura fruits have a thick shell while the father palm pisifera fruits have no shell at all. A cross between the two results in hybrid terena fruits with a thin wall.
Terena palms produce up to 30 percent more oil than their parents and their fruits have brown/black fibres in the outer covering.
The Tanzanian government instructed the Agriculture Seeds Agency (ASA) to produce 15,000 tonnes of quality seeds for distribution to farmers in various regions by 2025, in a move to realize its target of producing 700,000 tonnes of edible oil a year.
“We have a strategy to increase the size of land used for seeds multiplication from 15,000 hectares to 250,000 hectares in order to increase the quantity of seeds produced annually,” said Anthony Mavunde, Tanzania’s Deputy Minister of Agriculture.
He revealed that the government had increased its budget from Tsh 294 billion (U.S$ 125 million) to Tsh 751 billion (U.S$ 321 million) in the 2022/23 financial year, a move that will enable the agency to meet its seed multiplication target of 10 percent growth reaching 2030.
The major crops for edible oil production in Tanzania are sunflower, palm oil, groundnuts, sesame, soya beans, and cotton.
During his working visit to Kigoma, Majaliwa urged Small Industries Development Organisations (SIDOs) to continue developing good and simple palm oil milling technologies, which can enable Tanzanians to produce more and better oil in the country.
“President Samia Suluhu Hassan has supported SIDO with funds to design modern machines for milling palm oil up to 100 percent. It’s therefore important that our farmers move from the old technologies to boost themselves economically,” he pointed out.
He directed Kigoma Regional Commissioner Thobias Andengenye and area SIDOs to ensure that they introduce standard palm oil measuring scales instead of local containers known as Bidoo, which exploit farmers.
The buyers use hot water to expand a 20-liter container so that it can hold 25 liters, but they only end up paying for 20 liters.
Tanzania generates 205,000 tonnes of cooking oil through oil seed production year compared to a demand of 570,000 tonnes.