ARUSHA – Tanzania on Monday expressed its determination towards establishing steady local tea market in an effort to bolster production in the cash crop in the east African nation.
Innocent Bashungwa, Deputy Minister for Agriculture, unveiled the plan while addressing small-scale farmers in south-western Tanzania's district of Mufindi, Iringa Region. Mufindi is one of the tea growing areas in Tanzania.
"As the government, we're determined to ensure that our farmers get reliable markets for the crop," Bashungwa said. He said that the government wants to see the market-based in Dar es Salaam, contrary to the current situation whereby the tea auctions are held Kenya's coastal town of Mombasa.
"We'll supervise to ensure that our farmers benefit from the crop," he said. Bashungwa said that the plan also aims to boost tea production to 40 000 tons from the current 34 000 tons while equipping farmers with prerequisite skills and knowledge on better farming methods to increase production, income.
He acknowledged that for many years, farmers have expressed their desperation to continue farming the crop as they are not generating profits due to low prices and unreliable market.
"We have already directed the Tea Board of Tanzania to furnish us with detailed explanations on why it was setting low price during selling seasons.
From there we will see what measures to take to push the crop forward," he added. Jamhuri William, Mufundi District Commissioner, said that the government did all on its power to engage and seek support from various development partners and other stakeholders to ensure that tea farming is improved.