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    Tanzania: Cassava farming gets $1.1bn boost

    APA Mwanza- Tanzania

    Tanzania’s Ministry of Agriculture, Permanent Secretary, Mathew Mtigumwe, has said that his government has signed a deal with a Chinese firm worth over $1,109,980,000 (Sh 2.5trillion) that aims to commercialize cassava farming.

    Mtigumwe made the remarks on Wednesday when opening the annual review and planning meeting of the African Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) in Mwanza.

    He said in the deal, China will ensure consumption of 2.5 million metric tonnes of cassava from Tanzania, every year.

    Explaining he said that the agreement has been signed recently between the government and the Chinese firm called Tanzania Agricultural Export Processing Zone Limited and Epoch Agriculture (TAEPZ), with the technical assistance of ACAI.

    According to the PS whose speech was read on his behalf by the Director of Research and Development in the Ministry, Geofrey Gaspar, Tanzania currently has about 1.2 million smallholder farmers who produce about 4.4 million metric tonnes which is very low for commercialization.

    “We have already taken some steps including listing cassava in important policy initiatives such as Tanzania Development Vision of 2025 as one of the crucial crops in fighting poverty,” he said.

    However he noted that despite the initiatives, cassava average yield obtained by farmers in the country currently is about 2 tonnes only per hectare compared to the potential of at least 6 tonnes per hectare.

    Adding that the yield gap is mainly caused by many factors including limited to viral diseases and poor agronomic practices.

    In Tanzania, ACAI is undertaken in major cassava producing areas in Lake, Eastern and Southern Zones as well as Zanzibar with almost 80 per cent of the harvests is for food security and income generation.

    The five-year (2016- 2020) ACAI project is funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and is undertaken in five countries of Sub Saharan Africa.


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