Traditional crops buying increase

Procurement of major traditional export crops increased by 3.7 per cent to 370,894.8 tonnes in the quarter ending December last year, compared to 357,372.2 tonnes obtained in the corresponding period in 2011, driven largely by coffee and cotton.

According to the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) quarterly economic bulletin, good weather, steady supply of farm inputs and agro chemicals contributed to increased outputs particularly for coffee and cotton.

"The good outturn for cotton was mainly associated with good weather experienced in the cotton growing areas, steady supply farm inputs and agro chemicals as well as good prices; while the surge in coffee resulted from the cyclic nature of its production," stated the report.

For example, the volume of cotton production jumped to 16,854.4 tonnes, equivalent to 54.6 per cent up in the period under review compared to 75,591.1 tonnes produced in the preceding quarter. Coffee output also increased to 63,156.7 tonnes, a 97.1 per cent gains from 32,044.6 tonnes of the previous quarter.

On the other hand, poor weather explained the decline in procurement of tobacco, cashew nuts and tea. For example, tobacco production declined to 77,893.6 tonnes from 121,756.2 tonnes of the preceding quarter, which is equivalent to 36 per cent fall.

Cashew nuts recorded a 15.7 per cent decline to 51,005.1 tonnes from 60,522.9 tonnes produced in the corresponding period, a year before. Tea output, on the other hand declined slightly by 2.4 per cent to 32,155 tonnes compared to 32,960.9 tonnes of the preceding period.

The production of sisal fibre declined due to machinery breakdown, power outage and water shortage in some sisal estates. The output fell to 29,830 tonnes from 34,496.5 tonnes of the corresponding period, equivalent to 13.5 per cent down.

In the meantime, production of gold declined during the quarter ending December 2012 when compared with the preceding quarter. The output dipped to 7,922.7 kg from 9,760.3 kg produced in the other period, which is 17.9 per cent decline. Production of diamond was 24,493.1 carats compared with zero production in the corresponding quarter of 2011.

The outturn was due to resumption of operations by Williamson Diamond Mines, the major producer in the country.
Source: The Daily News,, reported by Sebastian Mrindoko in Dar es Salaam
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