TANZANIA – Tanzania aims to elevate cassava to the status of a strategic crop with significant economic potential, building on the successful development of enhanced cassava seedlings by the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI).

Mr. David Silinde, Deputy Minister for Agriculture, in response to a query from Nanyumbu legislator Ally Mhata (CCM) regarding government efforts, highlighted that the seedlings developed by TARI have the capacity to yield between 20 and 50 tonnes per acre.

He noted that these seedlings are readily available at all TARI centres and from other seed breeders.

The deputy minister emphasized that these seedlings exhibit remarkable attributes, including high yields, elevated starch content, and resilience against diseases, drought, and pests.

According to him, the utilization of improved seedlings led to an increase in the production of dry cassava from 2,486,000 tonnes in the 2020/2021 farming season to 2,575,453 tonnes in the 2022/2023 farming season.

Despite being the third most significant staple food crop in Tanzania after maize and rice, cassava encounters challenges such as fluctuating production and productivity.

These challenges are attributed to limited technology application along the value chain, pest infestations, erratic rainfall patterns, inadequate investment, market constraints, and coordination issues.

Moreover, there is a lack of diversification and expansion of cassava utilization into new growth markets, representing an opportunity for enhancing production, processing, and supply systems.

Experts suggest that there are still untapped or dormant markets in the country, including textile, breweries, pharmaceuticals, animal feed industries, biscuit factories, bioethanol, and other food and non-food cassava-based products.

In line with that, the government has formulated the National Cassava Development Strategy (NCDS) 2020-2030, which advocates for the cultivation of the crop, ensuring reliable markets, and establishing processing industries capable of producing various cassava-based products.

In addition, the ministry plans to convene a Cassava Business Forum on April 15, 2024, to bring together stakeholders and explore opportunities. During the forum, stakeholders will discuss opportunities available particularly in southern regions.

Therefore, the National Cassava Development Strategy outlines strategic interventions aimed at tripling current production while improving product quality to meet the rising demand.

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