Speaking at the just-ended 38th Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair (DITF), Mr Hamad Dege, an Agricultural Officer with Katani Limited said “small scale sisal production is once again assuming its crucial role in job creation and poverty alleviation.”
He said currently sisal production guarantees a farmer a minimum annual income of around 1.2m/- per hectare, where most small scale producers own a minimum of 2.5 hectares and above of sisal.
The average sisal prices in the world market range between 1,200 and 1,500 US dollars per tonne, even at times of bumper harvests in Brazil, China and Kenya which are among the world leading sisal producers.
He added, “This is an opportunity for all Tanzanians to participate in sisal farming to generate sustainable incomes that could lift them out abject poverty,” Only a minimum of 600,000/- capital investment is needed to have one hectare of sisal cultivated and planted.
Mr Dege, however, said the delays in the issuance of subleases were a stumbling block for the realisation of farmers’ expectations of accessing finance in order to grow to large scale production. So far, only six farmers have been granted subleases in a list of over thousands smallholder sisal growers.
“Where farmers get access to bank loans, it means their capacity to increase production is bolstered and could progressively transform them to large scale sisal producers,” he said.
He said the domestic market is increasingly becoming important to sisal farmers due to diversified use of sisal products and by-products.
This seems to have soothed the pains of struggling smallscale producers of the cash crop, giving hopes for high returns on their capital, time and labour investments.