SEVERAL Chinese companies investors have expressed interest in buying 5 million tons of dried cassava annually from the southern part of Tanzania, it has been learnt.
Cassava from Tanzania interests Chinese investors
They also intend to increase purchases by half the said amount on a yearly basis depending on the crop’s availability, national cassava coordinator Dr Geoffrey Mkamilo said.
“There are investors from China who are seeking relevant information on the reliable supply of dried cassava from the country. Their intention is to buy it here and transport it to China for other uses,” Mkamilo said without divulging the exact number of investors.
“This is an opportunity for Tanzanian farmers to improve their production and make a good profit out of it,” he added.
The variety being promoted has the ability to withstand major insect pest diseases like cassava green mites (CGM), cassava mosaic disease (CMD) and cassava brown steak disease (CBSD).
According to Mkamilo, Tanzania currently produces two million tons annually.
“This means that if local farmers refuse to adopt best farming practices, they wont be able to reach the targets of these (Chinese) investors,” he added.
He noted that commercial farmers could enjoy and expanding market with companies like the France-based Cassava Starch of Tanzania Corporation Ltd planning to establish a local starch-making plant in Mtama District, Lindi Region.
“Although cassava is a food security crop, it can also be used for income generation,” he added.
The assistant agricultural officer at the Naliendele Agricultural Research Institute (NARI), Julius Chacha, also encouraged local farmers to start using improved cassava seedlings to boost production of the crop.
At the Mtopwa agricultural research centre in Newala District, Mtwara Region, farmers are trained on how to produce top-quality for the international market.
Tanzania is the fourth-largest producer on the African continent. The country’s main producing regions are Mwanza, Mtwara, Lindi, Shinyanga, Tanga, Ruvuma, Mara, Kigoma, Coast, and most regions in Zanzibar.
It is an important staple food for over 700 million people in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. The flour can be used to make bread, cakes and biscuits, and also has the potential for industrial use in producing starch and bio fuel.