PRIME MINISTER Kassim Majaliwa has directed sisal-growing district councils and large-scale farmers to set aside 10 acres each for sisal nurseries, a move expected to boost production of seedlings in the country.
He also directed the Ministry of Agriculture to allocate funds for Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI), Mlingano Centre, to expand its laboratory and allow it to carry out more research and produce tissue culture seedlings.
Mr Majaliwa issued the directives on Wednesday after inspecting the TARI sisal seedling nursery in Muheza District, Tanga Region, and handed over the nursery to farmers.
“Every district council that has sisal farmers must make sure that by April 30, this year, it has allocated 10 acres for setting up a sisal nursery; this will ensure the supply of seedlings to all farmers and curb the current shortage,” he asserted.
In order to address the challenge of shortage of sisal seedlings in the country, every council and large-scale farmers should set aside 10 acres for the preparation of sisal seedling nurseries that will be distributed to farmers in their respective areas, Mr Majaliwa reiterated.
He also directed the Ministry of Agriculture to set aside a budget for the TARI, Mlingano Centre, as it will help shorten the time for germinating nurseries harvesting. Premier Majaliwa also ordered the ministry to give TARI tractors, which will assist in creating more nurseries and increase production.
“The matter of generating sisal seedlings is the responsibility of everyone, including the council and investors; it should not be left to TARI Mlingano alone,” he emphasized as he handed sisal nurseries to farmers.
He noted that currently, the country produces 39 tonnes of seedlings; however the expectation is to produce 150,000 tonnes by 2025.
“It is possible, as of now the government’s goal is to ensure that by next year there will be an increase in the production of more than two million seedlings now that the demand is high,” he stated.
He emphasized that the government's goal is to trickle down wealth to individual citizens after investing the first five years in building infrastructure that will aid in this vision.
According to TARI Mlingano Executive Director Dr Catherine Senkoro, as of January this year, a total of 32.6 hectares, equivalent to 81.5 acres, have been planted with sisal seedlings in TARI Mlingano areas.
She pointed out that with proper supervision and enough research the centre will be able to reduce the time a seedling stays at the nursery; as well as reduce up to two or three years of harvest time.
She further explained that the expansion of the lab through tissue culture will help to increase seedling production.
“We have planned to expand the laboratory for tissue culture as it ensures seedling production throughout the year, unlike the production of seedlings depending on scions which are seasonal,” she explained.
She added that, with the expansion of the lab seedling production is expected to 10 million seedlings per year, unlike the present production of 120000 per year.
She further said that their centre in collaboration with the Tanzania Sisal Board has provided training to farmers and Extension Officers in some regions suitable for sisal cultivation in regions of Tanga, Morogoro, Coast, Kilimanjaro, Lindi, Simiyu, Shinyanga and Mara.