Tanzania is now resulting in transforming the country’s Southern Highlands into wheat production zone as demand for the produce escalates worldwide.
Many parts of the world have been experiencing acute shortage of wheat due to the ongoing Eastern Europe Ward between Russia and Ukraine.
The two countries happen to be the leading producers and exporters of wheat.
To take advantage of the situation, Tanzania is thus embarking onto an ambitious strategy to improve and increase the production of wheat in the Makete district of Njombe Region, mapped within the Southern Highlands Zone.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data indicates that Tanzania’s annual domestic wheat consumption is clocking at one Million tons.
However, the country’s total wheat production remains 93,184 tons per year, which means Tanzania imports over 90 percent of the wheat its people use.
That is according to official reports from the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI).
Makete is currently producing 8,242 tons of wheat from the district’s estates.
Through the newly hatched agricultural initiative, Tanzania intends to double the rate of production at the moment, then increase it to reach an output of more than 200,000 tons by the year 2026.
The initiative focuses on increasing the area used for wheat farming in Makete from the current 17,120 hectares to a total of 118,000 hectares by 2026.
It will also be a golden opportunity for local farmers who will be earning a bank bursting 1.73 Million/- per hectare of harvest, from the current value of 750,000/- per hectare.
Improved wheat yields will now see a single hectare churn out 1.5 tons of the starch grass, which should be more than thrice the current output peaking at 0.5 tons per hectare, with applications of proper farm inputs such as improved seedlings and quality fertilizers
The Director of the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI), Mlingano Center of Tanga, Dr Catherine Senkoro, who is also a soil research scientist, reveals that thorough soil studies have been conducted to determine the type of fertilizers suitable in the district.
Dr Senkoro pointed out that from the researches; TARI has developed tailor-made fertilizers specifically for wheat farming in Makete District.
One of the Makete wheat farmers Neema Sanga said the initiative breathes new life into the area’s agricultural sector because of late; wheat production had been going down in the precinct.
On the other hand, the Tanzania Agricultural Seeds Agency (ASA) recently released over 80 tons of improved variety of wheat seeds, worth 340 million/- to support wheat productivity in the country.
The wheat that Tanzania produces is mostly grown by the smallholder farmers in the North Zone regions of Arusha, Manyara and Kilimanjaro.