TEA and the “Daily News”
In a full length column entitled “Comment” on 16 January 1986 the “Daily News” turned its attention to Tanzania’s tea industry. There was a strong reaction a few days later in a letter to the Editor from reader H T Masinde. “While it might be true that ‘the crop has greatly helped to improve the people’s living conditions’, it is not true that in ‘practically every area where tea is grown there are glaring signs of affluence….’ Also your generalising statement that ‘production in small holder farms has always been increasing steadily…’ is misleading. Here I have in mind such areas as Bukoba where small tea farms have been abandoned to turn into bushes while labour in organised estates has constantly been difficult to secure. Adding salt into my tea you assert that ‘in almost every house, a cup of tea is a never miss item’. Perhaps, but I believe if this is not a deliberate distortion of truth then you are completely out of touch with the reality. It just defeats my mind to imagine of a person in present Tanzania who does not know, at least, that for the majority of citizens drinking tea is a luxury for the blessed few. Your joke that ‘even during these difficult days when most essential commodities are in short supply, tea has always faithfully remained on the shop shelf …‘ is just a mockery in the hearts of the majority. Man, I couldn’t take tea at Christmas not because there was no tea but because Mr Sudeco couldn’t supply me with sugar! In this sense, tea will always faithfully remain on shop shelves not because it is plenty but because of the missing sugar. It might be of great service to our economy if Mr Tea Authority increased the export and reduced the domestic quota:”
COFFEE – Problem in Transporting
The “Daily News” reported at the end of January on one of the many serious transport problems facing Tanzanian agriculture. “Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC) has sent nine wagons to Kagera Region to be used for transporting coffee stranded at Kemondo Bay to the Tanga port. TRC General Manager Ndugu Tom Mmari said yesterday that other wagons would be sent to Bukoba at the end of the week for the same purpose. The corporation had charged the Kagera Region Cooperative Union more than Shs 180,000/- as damages for failing to unload 6 wagons containing fertilizer. The fertilizer has been lying unloaded for almost two weeks now, he said. A statement issued in Bukoba by the Kagers Regional Cooperative Union (KCU) said some 1,384 tonnes were at Kemondo Bay outside Bukoba town, 111 tonnes were at Bukoba Port and 170 tonnes at the Bukoba coffee processing plant (Bukop). The Kagera Regional Party Secretary, Ndugu Nicodemus Banduka, accompanied by KCU leaders has visited the Kemondo port where he urged the TRC to increase the nunt>er of wagons. He also directed the KCU management to hire lorries and transport the crop still in Bukoba to Kemondo ready for railing to Tanga. Similarly, wagons at the port should be unloaded ‘immediately to give room for the crop, he further directed. Ndugu Banduka was told by the KCU management that 13 wagons would be required to haul the coffee from the port. The union is allocated 11 wagons each week. The Kemondo port manager, Ndugu Benjamini Kibira, said TRC had already directed that wagons bringing in goods to Bukoba should not be loaded with other goods and that they should be used for transporting the crop.”
Following talks last year between Mwalimu Nyerere and President Fidel Castro ten Cuban sugar experts have arrived in Tanzania to advise on the rehabilitation of some of the sugar factories, which are running below capacity.
CASHEWNUTS – The Decline in Production
Writing in the February 1986 edition of “South” Brian Cooksey has analysed some of the causes of the recent decline in production of cashewnuts. He states that “The Cashewnut Authority of Tanzania bought little more than 32,000 tonnes of cashews from local producers last year. Such poor production figures were last recorded in 1958; only 12 years ago, farmers were selling 145,000 tonnes.
“The authorities have blamed declining production on the weather, insect and fungus attacks, bush fires, smuggling and poor farming methods. Others, though, say responsibility rests squarely with the Government and some of its outside advisers (the writer mentions the World Bank) -the very institutions planning to revive the industry by spending 250 million shillings under the 1984-92 National Cashewnut Programme.
“Throughout the 1970s, the Government’s critics say, official policy discouraged production of export crops by peasants, who were treated as a source of investment for other sectors. The growth of parastatal crop authorities with monopoly purchasing powers, the abolition of cooperatives and the communisation programme were all means to further state control of farm surpluses.
“By 1980, producers were receiving only 24 per cent of the export price of raw nuts, down from 72 per cent in 1970. Communisation was another big disincentive. And while both these policies have now been officially reversed, the latest increase in producer prices is only half the official inflation rate.”
Among the main features of Tanzania’s new national policy paper on livestock (Sera Ya Mifugo, Tanzania) dated 1986 is a requirement that villages will not, under any circumstances, be allowed to maintain livestock over and above the numbers recommended so as to ensure the judicious use of land. The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, the policy says, will work out incentive schemes aimed at encouraging the involvement of the people in modern livestock development. The schemes would entail the scrupulous implementation of the sales and price policy with the objective of increasing real incomes of livestock keepers while simultaneously enhancing efficiency.
The Ministry will conduct research on the possibility of producing locally drugs for cattle dips, pumps for spraying insecticides and other inputs. The Tanzania Livestock Research Organisation (TALIRO) will concentrate on developing better use of well known livestock development methods by livestock keepers in the country instead of embarking on new methods. Large scale private livestock keepers will be encouraged and given expanses of land provided it is not owned by villagers or parastatal organisations – Daily News
RICE PROJECT IN MOSHI
The first phase of a Tanzanian-Japanese project which forms part of the Kilimanjaro Integrated Development Programme was completed in Moshi District recently according to Shihata, the Tanzanian News Agency. 955 hectares of the 2,300 hectare project (2,000 for paddy) has been provided with irrigation canals, drainage and flood protection control measures and 300 hectares of paddy was reported as being harvested. Phase 2 has already started and is due to be completed in 1987.
LIONS IN LINDI REGION
Man-eating lions killed five people and injured one in six villages in Liwale District in Lindi Region in January this year according to the Daily News. Farming activities were interrupted as a massive hunt was launched by the Game Division and the local people. The lions were eventually killed. A Game Officer with the Lindi Regional Game Division, Ndugu Asterius Ndunguru, said the situation became normal after the Game Division in Liwale District was provided with sufficient rounds of ammunition to counter the beasts.