Mwanza. The government wants to increase cotton production by about 60 per cent in the next three years as it seeks to bring the textile industry back to vibrancy, the Tanzania Cotton Board (TCB) said yesterday.
Director general Marco Mtunga told eight regional commissioners from the Western Cotton Growing Areas (WCGAs) during their visit to the Mwabusalu Seed Multiplication Station in Meatu District, Simiyu Region, yesterday that the goal would be achieved through adoption of best agricultural practices.
WCGAs encompass Simiyu, Shinyanga, Geita, Mwanza, Kagera, Kigoma, Singida and Tabora. “Adopting best agricultural practices including embracing contract farming, supported by adequate supply of quality inputs (seeds, insecticides, sprayers, fertilisers) will raise cotton output by over 60 per cent in the next three years,” Mr Mtunga said yesterday.
TCB is also banking on the adoption and multiplication of UKM08 — a newly certified cotton seed which is expected to improve the quality of cotton lint and yields.
He said the seed was developed through a project that was supported by the government and its development partners.
The two parties supported a research that was conducted at the Ukiriguru Agricultural Research Institute (Uari) to come up with the best seeds that could be used by cotton farmers.
“It has developed a number of new seed varieties and one of them is UKM08 which is currently being multiplied,” he said.
To ensure a sustainable revival process of quality cotton seed, the government has also created an enabling environment for the private sector to invest in seed multiplication, processing and marketing of cotton seed for planting to farmers.
The revival process will involve all stages of seed production from breeder seed, pre-basic seed, and basic seed to certified seed.
Uari will produce both breeder and pre-basic seeds at Ukiriguru and Nkanziga farm in Misungwi respectively then the private sector will collect the seeds for further multiplication at Mwabusalu in Meatu.
“The basic seeds produced in Meatu will be taken to Igunga district to be multiplied to get certified seed ready for distribution to farmers,” he explained.
Some of the advantages of the new seed, according to Mr Mtunga, include the fact that it tolerant to pests, diseases and drought.