The Tanzania Times
Eastern Africa News Network

Tanzania releases 26 new varieties of improved Cassava seeds

A total of 26 new cassava seed varieties have been released in Tanzania as the country gears to improve both the quality and quantity of the tubers.

The Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) which has been researching on the crop has now unveiled the new cassava varieties to the general public

Tanzania is the twelfth largest producer of cassava in the world, ranking at number 6 in Africa.

The country’s current production capacity averages at 8.5 tons per hectare.

However Tanzanian farms boast the potential of yielding 60 tons of cassava per hectare.

The new cassava varieties were made possible through the combined efforts of the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) various centres of Ukiriguru (Mwanza), Kibaha (Coastal), Maruku ( Kagera) and Naliendele center in Mtwara Region.

Innocent Ndyetabula, is a cassava scientist at TARI Ukiriguru, who explains that out of the 26 official released improved varieties, at least 9 varieties have become the farmer’s best choice and widely cultivated with their demand keep increasing.

He said the special study on Demand Creation Trial (DCT), conducted recently through the Building an Economically Sustainable and Integrated Seed System for Cassava project; the 9 varieties have been popular among local farmers, especially the growers in the Lake Zone.

The new kernels are also gaining popularity in the Eastern and Southern Zones.

He said that the varieties have gained popularity among the farmers, processors and the consumers due to abilities to produce cassava with palatable taste, high yield as well as being resistant to diseases and enduring harsh weather conditions.

New Cassava seedlings now take between 9 and 12 months before being ripe for harvest.

The varieties include TARICASS 4, Mkumba na Kiroba (For Lake Zone), Chereko, Kipusa,  Pwani, Mkuranga 1 and Kizimbani (Suitable for Eastern Zone).

TARICASS 4, Kiroba, TARICASS 1, Mkuranga 1 and Chereko have proved to perform well in the Southern Highlands.

These cassava seed varieties have a potential of producing between 25 and 30 tons per hectare, which is far above 5 and 8 tons that are being produced through landrace seeds susceptible to a number of viral diseases.

The farmers can access the seeds from either the Cassava Seed Entrepreneurs (CSEs), or through the established Cassava Seed Producer Associations that are available countrywide.

Tanzania’s Ministry of Agriculture is implementing a sustainable cassava strategic plan which seeks among others to heighten acreages for the production of improved seeds varieties for cassava from 40,000 hectare in 2020 to 260,000 in 2030.

Despite doing well in a number of mainland regions, cassava is essentially a crop which is synonymous with Kagera, Tanga, Geita, Tabora, Shinyanga, Mwanza, Kigoma, Mara, Lindi and  Mtwara regions.

As it happens over 45 percent of cassava that comes from the border regions of Kagera and Kigoma are usually processed and exported to the neighbouring regions of Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan Burundi and DR Congo.

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