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July 16, 2008

Tanzanian cotton companies to contract outgrowers

Cotton ginners in Tanzania will from this year contract outgrowers to boost cotton production.

The programme, initiated by the Tanzania Cotton Board in partnership with the Tanzania Gatsby Trust, is expected to increase cotton production from 700,000 bales annually to 1.5 million bales by the year 2015.

Productivity is also expected to increase to 1,500kg per hectare, from the current 750kg to increase the proportion of lint consumed in the domestic textile industry from 30 per cent to 90 per cent by 2015.

Olive Luena, chief executive of Gatsby Tanzania said that as part of the programme, farmers will get reliable and sustainable extension services, inputs and credit so that they can maximise productivity and production. “Above all, the programme will also introduce or promote labour-intensive technologies to ensure timely planting, weeding and pest control,” she said.

The Gatsby said that the technologies must apply for both food crops as well as cotton because farmers spend their labour on food crops before cotton.

According to Ms Luena, soil conservation will also be introduced to minimise soil degradation.

The project involves 21 farmers, three from each district and will be run by Golder Associates from South Africa in collaboration with cotton board, districts councils and research institutes through demonstration plots and farmer field schools.

Mr David Sayi, the project co-ordinator of Cotton and Textile Development Programme, said that the programme has so far recorded positive results with farmers involved doubling their yields for both cotton and maize. For instance in Kwimba, cotton yields increased from 500kg per acre to 1,100kg.

In Sengerema Districts, farmers where given loans for cotton production and there has been 100 per cent loan recovery since the inception of the programme,” Sayi said.

The East African

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