JKT, Prisons for more pulse crop as Dar eyes ready Indian market
TANZANIA plans to use the National Service, JKT and Prisons Department to increase agricultural production, notably in leguminous crops, as it eyes exporting six million metric tonnes of pulses to Indian markets.
India, the world largest consumer of pulses, takes about 50 per cent out of the 13.6 million tonnes produced annually, with Tanzania contributing only 2.5 per cent.
According to Indian Deputy High Commissioner to Tanzania, Robert Shetkintong, his country was importing an average of six million tonnes a year to meet growing demand for the nutritious food crop. “About 55 per cent of our requirements is imported from Canada, the US and Australia.
For logistics convenience, the three countries are far from us. It is very expensive than importing from Tanzania,” he said at an International Year of Pulses meeting hosted by United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
He said for Tanzania to seize the opportunity must improve quality thereby using modern farming technology. “We’re expecting a delegate from India very soon to arrive in Tanzania to share moment and experience with their counterparts on improving pulses production,” he said.
The delegate will introduce modern faming equipment as well as new scientific methods for farming. The government admitted to have insufficiently utilised the arable land to less than 30 per cent, but said it was well organised to further meet local and international market demands.
“We are considering using the National Service and Prisons Department to add-up the production capacity,” the Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Dr Florens Turuka, told a stakeholders meeting in Dar es Salaam yesterday.
The PS statement seconded President John Magufuli’s announcement to the effect that the Prisons and National Service had large and underutilised workforce that does not need money to work. “Every region has a prison - so prison officers must work and inmates also eat food from the government’s budget.
Therefore, they must work,” Dr Magufuli said in one of his addresses recently. Alarmed by a huge demand of leguminous crops to the Asian country, the PS said there was also agreement with the government to effect production.
Technically, Dr Turuka pointed out that pulse production in developing world was relatively lower compared to developing countries. He said in developing states, they produce 785kg per hectare compared to 1780kg in developed countries.
“This calls for investment in research and technology,” FAO’s Country Representative, Mr Fred Kafeero, noted. He said pulses play crucial role in health diets, sustainable food production and above all in food security.