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Tanzania ministry of agriculture lifts ban on maize exports

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- The Tanzanian government said Monday it had lifted a ban on maize exports to the East African Community (EAC) and other African countries following an outcry from farmers amid surplus harvests.

Charles Tizeba, Minister for Agriculture, directed regional and district executives to put in place proper mechanisms to ensure the exports were done legally.

“Let farmers sell maize to markets of their choices, but they will have to seek permits from the ministry and approval from regional leaders,” he told the National Assembly in Dodoma.

He said Members of Parliament have since the beginning of the ongoing parliamentary meetings complained about the huge grain stocks following bumper harvests.

The government has for a long period sustained the ban on export of maize on grounds including shortage of food in some parts of the country as well as a deliberate move to bring the inflation down.

Tizeba also said purchasing of maize through National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) will resume soon as the government has already mobilized funds for the exercise.

“Our collected data showed that there is huge maize stock in farmer’s hand. The past farming season was a blessing as food production was over 123 percent”, said Tizeba.

In June, Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa told the Parliament the ban on maize exports was there to stay as spot checks showed a number of regions within the country were facing food shortages.

Majaliwa said that various countries in the EAC experienced poor harvests and requested for maize from Tanzania including the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and South Sudan.



Tanzania unveils strategies to increase sisal production

ARUSHA Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian sisal stakeholders on Monday laid down strategies during an ongoing global sisal meeting to boost the current annual production of 36,000 tonnes to 80,000 tonnes by 2022.

The strategies include taking advantage of the bigger market, which has been expanded by the diverse use of sisal, and sensitizing farmers on the need to open new plantations.

Speaking on the sideline of the meeting held in the northeastern Tanzania’s region of Tanga, Director General of the Tanzania Sisal Board (TSB) Yunus Mssika said in the 1960s, sisal output stood at more than 200,000 tonnes per year and accounted for 65 percent of the country’s total agricultural export.

“That’s why we’re challenging the crop stakeholders who attended the global sisal meeting to work hard to make sure that they turn around the situation and go back to the glory days when sisal was the cash crop of choice for farmers and a cash cow for the government,” the official said.

Statistics show until 2015, sisal production in Tanzania stood at 40,000 tonnes, before slumping to 36,753 in 2016, the official said, noting that in the 1960s sisal was mainly used for the manufacturing of carpets, bags and ropes.

However, the market was later outshone by the invention of synthetic fiber, leading to the fall of the crop and abandonment of many plantations in Tanzania.

“The use has since grown from the traditional ones to include composite automobile industries and construction where sisal fibers are used to increase gypsum’s fire-insulation performance, because of their tensile strength,” he said.


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