Government urged to facilitate increased soybean production

Posted on : Monday , 21st September 2015

The government has been urged to facilitate and put in place conducive environment that will enable more production of soybean in Tanzania.
The call was made during the soya stakeholders' consultation meeting held in Dar es Salaam at the weekend organised by the Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC).

The EAGC Country Director, Mr Julius Wambura, said it was high time for the government to put more efforts and make sure that the grain production rose for the good of farmers, businesses and country's economy at large.

"The potential is there, Tanzania can do far better than it is the case now," said Mr Wambura, adding that the country is one of the important soy producing countries in the region.

However, the production of soy is still very low, standing at less than 10,000 tonnes annually despite of all the agro-climatic potential that favours production. According to Mr Wambura, South Africa and Zambia have demonstrated drastic increase in production of soybeans over the past decade.

"We could be tempted to say that we want to reach the productivity of our neighbours," he said. Zambia has the highest yields of soybean production in the Eastern and Southern Africa region at 2,000 kg per hectare, but the yield is still lower than those attained in USA, Brazil and Argentina. "This revels more opportunity in increasing our production and productivity," he explained.

Assistant Director, Crop Promotion Services, Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Beatus Malema, said various stakeholders have started to come together, it was time now for creating a best system in the whole supply chain.

He named some of regions producing soy in Tanzania as Mbeya, Iringa, Ruvuma, Kagera, Kigoma Kilimanjaro, Rukwa and Mtwara. Prof Faustin Lekule of Sokoine University said Tanzanians can learn from experts in higher learning institutions on the best way to grow soy which he said was very marketable in producing animal feeds and healthy cooking oil.

The Director of Mount Meru Millers, Mr Atul Mittal, who is one of big soy stakeholders in Tanzania and the region noted that the biggest challenge when dealing with soy in Tanzania is policies.

"We should have policies that favour a farmer and other soy stakeholders in this country," he said, wondering how Tanzania with a huge tracts of land, high population and conducive weather was lagging behind in the region in soy production.

He mentioned some of the challenges as lack of markets and best seeds, bad prices, high taxes and lack of value addition.

Chairperson of Tandale Market Grain Sales Association and Investment, Mr Juma Dikwe, said although the demand of the grain is high at the market, its availability is problematic. "The government should sensitise its production," he said.

The one day workshop was attended by various soy stakeholders from the public and private sectors. The deliberations will pave way toward having a better strategy to increase soy production in Tanzania. EAGC is the umbrella membership body of grain stakeholders in Eastern Africa.

Source : Daily News




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