TANZANIA – The government plans to increase food storage capacity in 2016/17 financial year to enable the National Food Reserve Agency store 740,000 tonnes of cereals from 450,000 tonnes as of 2013 plans.

Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food Security and Co-operatives, Godfrey Zambi said the move is part of the government’s initiative to ensure there is sustainable market for farmers’ crops.

Zambi made the remarks here yesterday when responding to a question raised by Magdalena Sakaya (Special Seats, CUF) who wanted to know the government’s plans to ensure agro-produces get reliable markets.

The Minister said the government has been taking several strides in ensuring farmers get reliable markets by empowering them through agriculture inputs subsidies. 

He said in 2013/2014 food crop production stood at 16million tonnes, with maize production standing at 6million tonnes, rice over 1million tonnes, making an increase surplus of 125 percent of the national food reserve.

According to him, the national food requirement is about 12million tonnes and the country has already a surplus of 3million tonnes of food crops of which over 1million tonnes is for maize and around 794,161 tonnes for rice.

He said the government has already given mandate to all regional administrative secretaries to issue permits to farmers and agro-dealers wishing to sell their produce to the neighbouring countries.

“My ministry in collaboration with Industry and Trade will look for markets in Kenya, South Sudan, Comoro and South Africa; he said adding we also expect to enter the Democratic Republic of Congo, Comoro, Burundi, Oman and other Gulf States”.

In an effort to address problems related to poor storage infrastructures, the minister said the government will build warehouses and silos in strategic areas and refurbish 275 others in villages through Big Results Now (BRN) initiative, saying 30 warehouses were rehabilitated in 2013/2014 and plans are there to build 207 in 2015/2016.

February 8, 2015; http://www.ippmedia.com/frontend/index.php?l=77124