ARUSHA – Tanzania has set aside $4.3 million (R60mn) to boost cultivation of oil palm as part of its strategy to end the importation of edible oils, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said on Monday.
Majaliwa revealed this when speaking in the western Tanzania's region of Kigoma soon after inspecting an oil palm farm of the National Service Department (JKT) Bulombora camp.
The Tanzanian leader said the money will be spent in developing the crop so that its farmers are on the same level as growers of other cash crops. He also directed the Ministry of Agriculture to prepare a demonstration farm in the region where farmers can learn modern methods of oil palm production.
"The government will not tolerate anyone who goes against the strategy to revive the crop in the country," the premier cautioned.
Omary Mgumba, Tanzania's Deputy Minister for Agriculture said the government's strategy in reviving the crop is meant to save foreign currency used to import edible oils.
Kigoma region accounts for over 80 percent of palm oil produced in the country and given its soils and weather, it has the potential to make Tanzania one of the world's top palm oil producers and exporters.
Tanzania imports 55.5 percent of its total edible oil despite having a vast and promising production potential in palm oil and sunflower sub-sectors. Despite the huge potential, the country relies on imported raw materials for producing edible oils and soaps.
Tanzania has similar weather conditions as Malaysia from where it imports most of its palm oil. Malaysia is the world's second largest producer of palm oil while Tanzania is not even on the list of palm oil producing countries. The private sector has been in the forefront to increase the production of the crop since 2017.
Their engagement has seen financial institutions collaborating with the sector to improve performance. Palm oil is used in most oil-based products which consumers purchase and use on a daily basis. Palm Oil and its derivatives are used in the manufacture of pre-packaged foods, cosmetics, cleaning products, hair care, soaps and personal care items.