Stakeholders urge the Govt to subsidize sesame farming to boost production

The government has been urged to give Sesame preferential treatment in the District Agricultural Development Plans (DADPS) in order to end constraints facing the crop production amid its global demand surge.

Presenting findings of the research conducted on behalf of MVIWATA to identify policy that affect sesame production and Marketing in Tanzania, Prof Damian Gabagambi from Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) told members of the press that even as the crop had immense potential, there were numerous policy related issues hindering its production.

“It is high time that the government see need of improving provision of extension service, prioritizing sesame for LGA resources and thus start to subsidize the crop by issuing improved seeds, fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides to farmers.”

The research that was conducted in three sesame producing districts-Bahi, Manyoni and Babati- mentions other issues facing the crop to include poor stakeholder organization, bad market linkage, and dominance of local variety seeds and use of unstandardized measurement.

“Sesame has so much potential to stand out as another cash crop, which if sensitized could enable small scale farmers to get out of abject poverty. But we must fight to remove above mentioned numerous constraints,” said the Don.

It is because of that, Farm Africa is implementing a project on improving livelihood and improve by addressing challenges facing stakeholders in the sesame subsector.

The project is being implemented in 17 Villages of Babati under COSITA, 23 villages of Manyoni and 20 villages of Bahi Districts under INADES since July 2015 and it is expected to end in June 2018.

Under this project MVIWATA is responsible for, among other things, explore policy related issues to support the implementation of the project.

“It is disheartening to note that we small-scale farmers have no say on how our crops are being weighed by the middlemen who as far as using altered scales and offering us poor prices to exploit us,” said Martha Magoha, a small scale from Chilungula village in Bahi district.

We are forced to sell the crop at Sh1,200, instead of Sh3,500 a kilo as average market price. We are asking the government to intervene by issuing bylaws and indicative prices for the crop,” he added.

For his part, the MVIWATA executive director Stephen Ruvuga, opening a two day media training to expose journalists sesame farming and markets realities, said in 2013 the average sesame production was 6.7 per cent making the country to attain the status of the world’s average producer.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) report of 2001 Tanzania is ranked as the eighth country globally in producing sesame after India, China, Japan, Ethiopia, Sudan, Nigeria and Uganda.
In 2013, the country produced a total of 5.6 tonnes of sesame and ranked fifth.

According to him, Lindi, Mtwara, Ruvuma and Mbeya are among major sesame producers in Tanzania.

“Although the market is readily available, with Japan being the largest importer, Tanzania has not capitalized on the situation of promote farming of the crop through providing subsidy,” said Mr Ruvuga.

The demand for sesame is increasing both locally and in the international markets due to its nutritional and medicinal values.

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The demand for sesame is increasing both locally and in the international markets due to its nutritional and medicinal values.

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