Speaking at the Validation Workshop for the Edible Oil held in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday, TPSF Director of Policy Gili Teri said that the organization held a survey in some regions and industries in the country, whereby it found that many people were still locked away from the potentials that came from the crop.
According to him, if the country could wake up and decide to invest in research, quality seeds and technology, millions of Tanzanians could enjoy a better life and forget about all the hurdles of poverty.
“Sunflowers are grown all over the country, mostly by small-scale farmers. Therefore the development of the sunflower oil sector has a great potential for improving livelihoods and the welfare of relatively poorer households…what is needed the most is determination and commitment to transform the sector,” he said.
He added that the nation had huge potentials to produce more oil from sunflower, cotton seeds and many other plants, saying what was mostly needed was national determination to invest in the sector.
Statistics show that South Africa is the largest sunflower seeds producer, accounting for 46 per cent of the continent’s total production, followed by Tanzania with 35 per cent.
Presenting the findings, TPSF Consultant Braison Sali said the study found that lack of a national strategy for edible oil was a challenge for the growth of the sector.
“The edible oil sector has a generally weak policy. Many policies that the country has mostly support only food crops,” he said.
According to him, it is high time for Tanzania to react and reduce over dependence on imported cooking oil which is “a heavy load on the country.
“We have to make sure we start processing oil seeds at a large scale so as to curb over dependence,” he said, adding: “Lack of modern mechanical oil extraction has caused underproduction of edible oil…so, investments should be directed to the area,” he said.
He said that Tanzania was currently importing at least 500,000 tonnes of edible oil annually while local production stood at 180,000 tonnes.
Sali went further to say that as per the study, by 2030 the population could reach 82 million with the demand of edible oil projected at 750,000 tonnes per year, a situation he said called for more investments.
Courtesy: The Guardian July 20th 2017 – Getrude Mbago