TANZANIA- The government of Tanzania has announced plans to set up cacao nurseries in the Kyela District in the Mbeya Region and distribute them to farmers to increase the country’s productivity of the crop.  

David Silinde, Deputy Agriculture minister, announced the plan when visiting farmers in the region.  

The government selected the Mbeya region because it is well-known for cocoa farming.  

The authorities will distribute more than 100,000 cacao seedlings to farmers, which is expected to encourage people to engage in the crop’s cultivation.  

The plan is part of the government’s recent plan to expand the agricultural sector and increase food production. 

However, the plans are crucial in the cocoa market—soaring cocoa prices due to extreme weather and disease in cocoa-producing regions. 

The government has announced plans for further research and development of the crop in Tanzania. 

Silinde said, “But we have also directed the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) to conduct research to identify diseases and pests that attack cocoa and how to surpass them by using organic pesticides.” 

The country’s trade and industry ministry also announced plans to enhance the management of international cocoa trade through a modern warehouse report system that it hopes will protect farmers from extreme price fluctuations. 

Cocoa prices have been very volatile in 2024- peaking at an all-time high in mid-April and experiencing the highest single-day price drop since 1980 in the second week of May. 

Cocoa prices have also significantly increased in Tanzania, from US$9.63 per kilogram at the end of 2023 to US$12.3 per kilogram at the start of May.   

Exaud Kigahe, Deputy Trade and Industry minister attributed this price increase to this online warehouse report system and structured buyer competition.  

However, this online system is marred by claims of fraud and misconduct among competing buyers. 

The online system could have mitigated the influence of middlemen in Tanzania’s cocoa trade. 

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said, “Why don’t you call the buyers here to compete openly? If the problem is the online platform, why don’t you make it clear so other buyers can participate? 

He called on officials running the online system to practice integrity and transparency.  

He also called on cooperatives, government leaders, and farmers to collaborate to control middlemen who try to exploit the market. 

Liked this article? Subscribe to Food Business Africa News, our regular email newsletters with the latest news insights from Africa and the World’s food and agro industryHERE