TANZANIA – Tanzania is set to open its Cassava Starch of Tanzania Corporation (CSTC) processing plant which has a capacity to process 60 tonnes of cassava on a daily basis, reports Daily News.

Deputy Minister of Trade, Industries and Investment, Engineer Stella Manyanya revealed that the plant is 90% complete and has already started a pilot production of cassava flour in January 2019.

“The completion and official kick off of official production will provide market for cassava farmers in the Southern regions,’’ she said.

Eng Manyanya lobbied institutions to offer technical expertise on best cassava processing and farming practices in order to maximise output and capitalise on the growing demand in the global cassava market.

According to Eng Manyanya, the Small Industries Development Organisation (SIDO) and Tanzania Industrial Research and Development Organisation (TIRDO) are among the major institutions of interest in the sector.

“Cassava is among the agricultural produce, which the ministry is highly prioritising so that it can help in boosting the country’s economy and increase the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP),’’ said Engineer Manyanya.

Stakeholders have called for a collaborative approach towards exploring the limits presented by the commodity and addressing the challenges facing cassava sector in the country.

This has seen the ministry of Trade, Industries and Investment and that of agriculture form a special committee of experts focusing on ways to expand cassava markets for the benefit of cash crop growers.

Cassava is a major subsistence crop in Tanzania with most of the cassava production, about 84%, used for local human consumption while about 16% of the produce serves the export market, used in animal feed production and starch production.

According to Food and Agriculture Organization Corporate Statistical Database (FAOSTAT), cassava production in Tanzania is estimated at 5.4 million tonnes making it compete favourably with other global producers.

In 2017, a Chinese investor entered into an agreement with the Tanzanian government to commercialise cassava farming and set up a processing facility.

The US$1 billion investment through the Tanzania Agricultural Export Processing Zone Limited and Epoch Agriculture (TAEPZ), was aimed at creating an out-grower scheme to ensure sufficient production of cassava for processing.