The Tanzania Cotton Board (TCB) is working out plan to empower farmers to process cotton themselves and benefit from selling both cotton and its seeds. They are also working on increase value chains in the sector. TCB Director of Finance and Administration Gabriel Mwalo said that under the new system, cotton growers will reap the fruits of value addition.
Currently ginners are the ones who enjoy the lion share of cotton profits making double income, because more than fiber they also earn from oil extracted from cotton seeds.
The ginners buy cotton seeds from farmers and they extract oil from cotton seeds and oilcake which they sell and obtain a lot of money compared to the farmers.
The TCB Director of Finance and Administration Mwalo said that the Cotton Board has realised that the best way to empower farmers is to help them process the cotton themselves.
Mwalo admitted that production levels are dwindling so much that several textile factories have stopped operations due insufficiency of the product.
Last year the prices of cotton per kg was 750/- while cotton seeds were sold between 350/- and 600/- per kg.
Commenting on contract farming, Mwalo said that TCB has formed various associations in regions where the system is being implemented to simplify the process of obtaining loans and farm implements such as pesticides.
The regions where contract farming is practiced include Geita, Simiyu, Nzega and Singida, he said noting that the board has launched a registration book for all farmers and they are currently issuing identification cards to farmers in Simiyu under the sponsorship of European Union EU.
Farmers who are under the contract farming system have received financial support from Cotton Development Trust Fund (CDTF) which has bought 1.5m hectares for them.
Currently major market for Tanzania cotton is Far East include Indonesia, Thailand, India, China and Madagascar.
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