Shinyanga. Cotton farmers in the Lake Zone areas continue to have reasons to smile after securing market for their produce and benefiting from capacity training which allow them to improve their products to the quality needed by processors.
The reason is the benefit brought to farmers since the cotton processing firm the JOC Textile Tanzania Company Limited (JOC) started its operations in the year 2014/15. The firm is located at Kizimbu ward in Shinyanga municipal about ten kilo-meters to Shinyanga town.
Since it started its operation in October 2014, the firm buys and pro-cases and average of 5,000 to 8,000 cotton lint each year. The amount is equivalent to at least 15,000 to 24,000 tons of raw cotton.
Apart from buying the firms pro-vide periodic training on the good farming methods and provision of insect sides and pesticide for cotton. Mr. Dues Seni a chairman of Nheleghani village said JOC textile cotton experts’ periodically build capacity to farmers on doing productive farming,” I believe many farmers have benefited from these periodic trainings because they add knowledge to their farming meth-ods”.
Mr Seni further points out that apart from training JOC textile has provided them with pesticides, insecticides and other social benefits from the firm. “In the year 2017 there was insect outbreak the firm provide us with pesticides which help us to rescue our products,” he said adding that they are working good with the company.
Commenting on other community activities the chairman said the firm had received the proposal from them of providing them with medical tools for the village dispensary and building their village office.
He then point out that JOC textile experts have taught villager of farming mushroom. On his part Shinyanga Municipal Executive Director, Geofrey Mwangulubi said on all the time on his position the JOC textile has been cooperative to the municipal and they helped them in many ways.
“The company contributed in many community activities includes building school infrastructures and training to farmers.” Bringing on his concern over employment Mr. Seni said the firm employed many of villagers with different contacts. “They started with six months contracts but they now add a one year, although there are those who have renewed their contacts several times due to the company trust.”
JOC textile human resource officer Marco Kyaruzi said since the establishment of JOC textile in 2014/2015 they have managed to employ at least 147 people with different periodic contacts and education levels. “The firm employs periodically depending on the need in the respective time,”
He explained adding that by seen the importance of employment they have changed their contract policy by applying a minimum contract of one year to some workers from six month previously. Accumulating raw material Mr. Marco who is also an assistant to JOC textile managing director said the firm collects cotton lint from ginners who process raw cotton to cotton lint. The company works with several ginners from across Lake Zone.
Mentioning some of them Kyruzi name Nyanza Cotton Oil Company Ltd, Fresho Investment Company Ltd, Kahama Oil Mills Ltd, Afrisian Ginning Ltd, GAKI, Birchand (Kahama Cotton), Aham Invest-ment Company Ltd and Vitrics Oil Mills Ltd. He then said that JOC textile bought cotton from those ginners in various season cotton. Even though he said in the pre-vious cotton season 2018/19 they bought cotton from two ginners only due to their need in the time being. According to him he said they bought around 4,000 tons of cotton lint in that season. He then pointed out that if their firm will have to work at full capacity it can accommodate in process at least 10 per cent of cotton produced in the country each year. Cotton is among the major cash crops in Tanzania and it is only grown in Tanzania Mainland.
A total of 381,021 operators were engaged in growing cotton in the agricultural year 2016/17. Statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture of 2016/17 have shown that a total of 194,626 of raw cotton was produced in the country and the amount shoot to 340,000 in the season 2018/19. This explains how availability of cotton processors in the country boosted farmer morale to increase their production because they have secured the market.
This is also successful due to government intervention in the market by setting policies and indicative prices periodically. The statistics further indicated that more than 90 per cent of cotton in the country is obtained in the lake zone are with Simiyu region (The former part of Shinyanga region) leading by at least 50 per cent followed by Shinyanga region by 17.2 and Geita region by 15 per cent. Other regions produce cotton in Tanzania are Kagera and Mwanza.
After collection of cotton the pro-duce undergo cleaning process and then processed. “Cleaning help to grade cotton in several quality needed by cloth makers. We have many machines which can grade and produce cotton of different quality depending on the market”. He then explain that the company has a stock of 3,000 tons of cotton yarn in average which is ready for cloth making.
Kyaruzi said cotton yarns are totally exported for inter-national sales. Adding value to cotton JOC Textile Managing Director Mr. Liu said the main focus for them is to add value to Tanzania cotton so that it can be competitive in the world market. “By knowing that we have pro-vided farmers with several trainings on better farming methods which improves their productivity” he explained adding that JOC Textile ha a large capacity of process bulk cotton in the country.
According to Kyaruzi Despite that there are several challenges which are facing the whole process such as little cooperation from farmers despite free knowledge they have been given and fluctuation of cotton price in the world market. Mr. Kyaruzi further mentioned other challenges as transportation challenges due to the establishment of new policy by the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) which need cargo to be transported by the track which is only having the C40 documents.
How the company contributes locally Kyaruzi said by knowing the importance of surrounding communities and the government the company has been contributing in several domestic activities including periodic trading to farmers on better farming methods for both cotton and other products like mushroom.
According to him they had trained around 2000 trainees through all these years in various programs. And many of these villagers from around the firm and some of JOC employees attended the mushroom farming program which had been organized on 2018. “The program was conducted by experts from University of Dar es Salaam and JOC funded all the programme”. He then explained that they have also conducted two training to cot-ton farmers in 2017 and 2018. The training was conducted by cotton experts from China and procurement officers from Sinyanga. “
By using a practical training on farming. We have planted in one hector on which we have harvested 800 kilos to 1,200 kilos of cotton. This is far different from an average of 300 kilos only which is cultivated by local farmers for the same piece of land,” he explained that same of farmers are already benefited from the training. Explaining other social activities they have contributed to he said in the year 2015 they have donate $5,000 (around Sh11 million) to building OD school laboratory. The donation was made to Town second-ary School which is in Shinyanga.
In the year 2017 JOC textile they donated 70 desks to Nheleghani primary school, the school in located around the industrial area. “The donation was to the school through village leaders and the school committee.
Kyaruzi further noted that in December 2017, the firm contributed Sh7 million for sponsoring and supporting Annual Cotton Conference which was held in Shinyanga and hosted by the Hon. Prime minister. The prime minister also paid a visit to JOC textile.
According to him in 2018 cotton season there was a disease outbreak they help farmers with pesticides and insecticides. He then said that in January 2018, by knowing the importance of fire rescue in the region they donate Sh2 million to the authority in facilitating repairing of the fire rescue car.
In September 2018, when the MV Nyerere sank in Lake Victoria JOC textiles donate Sh2 million to the authority’s to help victims and res-cue activities.