MEASURES are being taken to increase cultivation area of rubber in the country following the growth of rubber market in the world.
Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Mr William Ole Nasha told the National Assembly that there was a growing market of the commodity in China and Kenya.
He was answering questions by Mbarouk Salim (Wete-CUF) who wanted to know sizes of rubber plantations found in Tanga and Morogoro and why the plantations (as they are unproductive) should not be distributed to people for other uses.
“We cannot distribute these plantations afresh for other uses as we’re planning to increase size of land for rubber cultivation due to its growing market in the world.
We’re also looking for other means of developing rubber farming as there are many local industries which are using rubber as raw material, such as OK plastic and Bora shoes” Mr Ole Nasha explained.
Stating on sizes of rubber plantations, the deputy minister noted that Kihuhwi plantation in Muheza covers 790 hectares while Kilunga Mang’ula in Morogoro covers 750 hectares.
He mentioned other plantations in Zanzibar as Machai and Mselem with a total size of 637 hectares and seven small plantations in Unguja and Pemba with a total size of 633 hectares.
The deputy minister admitted that production of rubber had declined in Tanzania mainland from 183,420 kilos in 2009 to 165,535 kilos in 2014, while in Zanzibar it had declined from 4,229,226 kilos in 2008 to 2,249,021 kilos in 2011.
Mr Ole Nasha said that the government, through the National Development Corporation (NDC) had started to develop Kilunga Mang’ula plantation by planting 212,500 seedlings.
He also said that the government was investigating main causes of road accidents, including defectiveness of second hand tires.
The deputy minister was commenting on an argument raised by Mr Joseph Selasini (Rombo-Chadema) who called on the government to ban importation of second hand tires because they are the main cause of road accidents.
On revival of Arusha based General Tyre Ltd, Mr Ole Nasha stated that the government had researched on how best to revive and develop it through Public Private Partnership.
“Preliminary report shows that the industry needs new machines with modern technology.
The industry also should be extended in order to produce more types of tires and operate profitably” he added.