- Published on Monday, 16 July 2012 00:59
- Written by MARC NKWAME in Arusha
- Hits: 524
AS drought continues to ravage many parts of Monduli, farmers in the district are wondering if this is the proper time to attempt growing sorghum to make ends meet.
Speaking during a special 'farmers' field day,' the Monduli peasants who for years have been depending on maize and beans expressed concern that the traditional crops were proving to be of no match for the drought onslaught.
They wanted to know from seed producers who took part in the farmers' day in Monduli, if they can be guaranteed ample market for the crop should they embark on serious sorghum growing ventures.
The Seed Co. Marketing Manager, Mr Arnold Mselle, assured them that companies like Tanzania Breweries Limited (TBL) were prepared to buy locally produced sorghum since the crop was a major component for variety of the TBL beer brands.
He also added that a number of local and foreign food companies were also potential buyers of sorghum which is a drought resistant crop that will enable Monduli farmers to produce it with ease and less pressure even if the rains fail.
The Monduli District Agricultural and Livestock Development Officer, Mr Ridhiwani Kombo, had previously advised local farmers to start growing drought resistant crops such as sorghum and pigeon peas to safeguard themselves from poor rains.
Meanwhile, local farmers have decried increased wave of counterfeit maize seeds, appealing to the government to take immediate action to solve the problem. Mr Polycarp Shayo, a maize farmer based in Monduli, said that fake seeds are in the market and seems the government is not taking action to take to task people, who are behind the dubious business.
He said the situation right now is not encouraging and confuses farmers who are unable to distinguish between genuine and fake seeds. "We want the government to work on this problem, which is making large number of farmers into loss," he said.
Mr Shayo's farm is one of the few ones spared for demonstration, whereby an Arusha-based seed processing firm -- Seedco Tanzania provided with improved seeds and other related farm inputs. The farmer, whose land has always been regarded as exemplary, is very optimistic that this year he is going to harvest more than 100 bags of maize in his field, because he properly used genuine seeds and applied fertilizers.
Another farmer, Mr William Shilalo, who owns 10 acres of maize farm in the area, urged seeds' processing firms to come up with special marks that will make farmers be able to identify the genuine or fake seeds in the market.
"I have ten acres of land, but I'm not expecting to harvest much because some of the seeds I used were not genuine," he said, adding that many farmers are not aware of the problem; hence they ended-up buying adulterated seeds from dubious dealers.
Mr Dave Clements who is the Tanzania Managing Director of Seed.Co which is the largest seed producer on the continent admitted to be aware of this problem and urged farmers to make informed decision when it comes to buying seeds.
He also said the problem needs collective efforts amongst stakeholders, including farmers themselves, agro-dealers and the government on the other side because it involved a syndicate of large network. Seedco marketing manager, Mr Arnold Mselle, called on farmers to ensure that they get better knowledge on seeds before embarking into farming.
"We have different varieties of seeds, in every climatic condition. For example, in areas where there are short rains, we have its variety, the same applies to areas with long rains," he said. Monduli District Agricultural and Livestock Development Officer, Mr Ridhiwani Kombo also urged farmers to be careful when buying seeds, as the market is flooded with fake seeds.