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July 24, 2011

Tanzania: New sisal industry act seeks to reviltalize sector

by George Sembony

A Sisal Industry Regulation Act of 2010 that would guide the running of the sisal industry is being prepared by the Tanzania Sisal Board in cooperation with the Sisal Farmers’ Association of Tanzania.

The board’s acting director general, Mr Hamis Mapinda, said the regulation, which would repeal the Sisal Industry Act of 1996, aims at strengthening the quality of sisal and encourage farmers to use improved farming methods.

Mr Mapinda said that despite the existence of good opportunities such as better prices and wide markets, sisal production was still unsatisfactory because of low productivity due to non-adherence to improved farming methods.

“For instance, the 2010 production was only 70 per cent of the 35,000 tonnes targeted for that year,” said Mr Mapinda. A total of 24,676.60 tonnes of sisal fibre were produced in 2010, a 17 per cent increase compared to the 2009 production of 21,060.32 tonnes. He also revealed that a total of 11,557.85 tonnes of fibre worth $10.4 million were exported, a 40 per cent increase in foreign sales over 2009 exports. In 2009, a total of 8,239 tonnes of fibre worth $ 6.8 million were exported.

Speaking about the internal fibre market, he said that a total of 12,086.98 tonnes of fibre worth Sh11.78 billion were sold in the local market in 2010 compared to 12,880 tonnes of fibre worth Sh10.08 billion sold in the previous year.

He also revealed that there has been an increase in exports of sisal products other than fibre in 2010 noting that a total of 6,408.43 tonnes of sisal products worth $8.31 million were exported last year compared to 5,349.33 tonnes of sisal products worth $6.90 million exported in 2009.

There was a similar increase of sales of sisal products in the internal market with a total of 6,145.75 tonnes of sisal products worth Sh10 billion sold in 2010 compared to 4,493.81 tonnes worth Sh7.81 billion sold in 2009. He said the major challenges facing the sisal sector included lack of capital and a shortage of credit opportunities which have deterred farmers from increasing production.

The Citizen

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