Tanzania to harvest 250,000 tonnes of cotton

Tanzania is expected to harvest 250,000 tonnes of cotton during the 2015/2016 farming season, a top official of the cotton board told the ‘Daily News’ in Dar es Salaam yesterday.

Tanzania Cotton Board (TCB) Director General, Mr Gabriel Mwalo, said the country harvested 148,00 tonnes during the just ended season (2014/2015) due to bad weather.

“The board had earlier projected to harvest 250,000 tonnes of seed cotton, due to bad weather the projection was revised to 200,000 tonnes, but after prolonged dry spells in some parts of the country, we ended with 148,000 tonnes,” Mr Mwalo said.

He said although production in general dropped by 30 per cent, in Geita Region where they had contract farming the output increased by nine per cent.

Mr Mwalo urged farmers to adhere to modern and environmental friendly agricultural practices to mitigate adverse impacts of heavy rains and floods.

He said preparations for cotton planting were well underway, notwithstanding the threat of El Nino related floods. The Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA) has already warned on possibility of El Nino rains, urging members to get prepared for the related consequences.

The TCB chief reminded farmers to practise crop rotation as well as planting jatropha trees as some of the strategies to lessen the impact of torrential rains.

He appealed to all cotton stakeholders in public and private sectors to join hands in support of contract farming, which has proved to be highly instrumental in boosting production.

Under the system, cotton buyers and ginners supply cotton growers with all the essential inputs on credit. 

The government through TCB in 2007 embarked on pilot contract farming in Mara’s three districts of Serengeti, Bunda and Musoma Rural to help cotton growers to boost production through timely supply of inputs and guaranteed markets.

The system, however, collapsed despite its potential benefits to farmers and gunners du to what stakeholders describe as vested interests.

However, some cotton buyers under their Cotton Buyers and Ginners Association (UMWAPA), last year reintroduced the system in Mwanza, Shinyanga and Geita regions to reap its benefits.
Source: Daily News, reported from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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