Dar eyes to boost wheat supply to lucrative East Africa market

TANZANIA – The government in collaboration with various food processing industries is setting plans to boost production and supply of wheat flour in the East African region, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade and Investment, Prof Adolf Mkenda said yesterday.

The PS said the idea was to increase the production and supply of wheat flour in the region and reduce importation of the product from abroad.

“We have invited stakeholders in the area, we want our processing industries to produce enough wheat flour so that it could be supplied in the region,” he said at a Tanzania Broadcast Corporation (TBC) morning programme.

In several occasions there have been talks between Tanzania and Kenya on the access of market for various products from the two countries.

In April, for instance, Kenya banned Tanzania’s wheat flour from accessing its market.

The country also raised concerns on cooking gas imports through the Kenya-Tanzania border on the disguise of safety and quality concerns.

The PS said another talks are scheduled for November and that stakeholders in wheat businesses across the country have been invited.

In June, this year, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimated that the World Wheat Production in the 2017/18 will be 739.53 million metric tonnes.

Last year the production was 754.1 million tonnes.

Tanzania produces an average of 75,000 tons per annum while Kenya is capable of producing 300,000 tonnes.

Demand for wheat in Kenya currently stands at 1.5 million tonnes per year. The country thus imports the remaining 1.2 million tonnes.

Prof Mkenda said the government through his ministry has been holding talks with its neighbours regarding business relations and that they have agreed on several issues that aim at improving businesses and the economy in the region.

He said the closing of Kenyan based supermarket ‘Uchumi supermarket’ affected many Tanzanians and that the government is doing everything in its powers to ensure the Kenyan government facilitates payments of some Tanzanians.

“Kenyan government owns some shares with Uchumi Supermarket, therefore we are trying to negotiate with them to see how our people could be paid,” he said.

He added that the government is also talking to the Nakumatt Supermarket management to see the possibility of doing business with Tanzanians.

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