Archive for May, 1986

MISCELLANEOUS

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.”

SUGAR
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.”

LIVESTOCK POLICY
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.

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THE USAMBARA MOUNTAINS

A CASE FOR CONSERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT

(This article is based partly on an International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN )/Conservation for Development Centre report to the Government of Tanzania, “Agricultural Development and Environment Conservation in the East Usambara Mountains”, IUCN Regional Office, Nairobi, November 1985.)

As Norman Myers so succinctly puts it, “Tropical forests offer a wealth of environmental services”. (The Primary Source: Tropical Forests and our Future). Not least in those services is the regulation of floods and the mitigation of droughts; two climatic phenomena that afflict all Africa at one time or another. In close association come the additional services provided through the prevention of soil erosion, the control of sedimentation and the provision of a rich store of biomass suitable for multipurpose sustained economic development – that is, if only it were managed correctly.

Rarely are tropical forests accorded a realistic evaluation of their costs and benefits in development planning. Their conservation appears to be an expensive luxury to loggers and national exchequers alike. In reality, however, such short term exploitation hides the longer term cost of damage to the forest, its locale and the many services it provides. There is no reason why conservation and development should not be compatible. The East Usambara Mountains of Tanzania is a good case in point.

The East Usambaras are at the seaward end of a chain of forested, acid, igneous mountains stretching from near the Kenya-Tanzania border right down to southern Malawi. Although adjacent to the sea at Tanga, they are a highland massif of 400km above 600m altitude with the highest point at 1250 m. About 300 km are forested, of which 80 percent has forest reserve status. The mountains receive 1500 to 1200mm of rainfall annually, ensuring an ideal growing environment of this ecological ‘island’ for a dense hardwood tropical rainforest. The tall canopy trees include endemic varieties such as Cephalosphaera and other timbers of exceptional economic value.

The forest cover is of crucial importance to the Usambaras themselves, the surrounding region and potentially to the economy of Tanzania. These forest roles may be summarised as:

* water catchment protection: the forest is vital to the storage and slow release of water to the lowland surrounds. The town of Tanga is reliant on Usambaran water and its slow release through the dry season to the coastal plains. Similarly, the forest cover protects the lowlands from floods. On both counts – drought and floods – recent years have seen a worsening position.

* topsoil fertility: the soils are primarily Acrisols, the leached, highly weathered soils of Africa, with no reserves, only transient fertility and virtually all nutrients bound up in the biomass and not in the soil.

* Use for shade-demanding crops, primarily spices. Cardamom is a big cash earner for local farmers and it is grown in the understorey to the forest where it demands shade and the nutrients of the forest litter. Continuous cardamom, however, cuts out forest regeneration.

* Timber is an important product and is exploited by the state-owned sawmills and by private pit sawyers. Up to 20 varieties of the largest trees are in great demand for such high-value products as veneers and furniture. Low density and selective exploitation is probably sustainable but the devastation caused by the sawmills operations is irreversible on these soils.

* The gene pool of the Usambara is the richest and most diverse in Africa for such a small area. Many plants are of economic interest not only for timber but for fruit, medicines and other products. Many are absent or rare anywhere else .

The notion of ‘hands-off’ conservation is unrealistic in the Africa of today; all the above forest roles can be achieved by selective and careful exploitation, and the use of the forest not only as a stock of resources but also as an environmental protector. In short, conservation and development.

Threats to the forest come from three sources: the loggers are the most obvious but are relatively easily controlled if existing regulations were enforced; the spice cultivators are a medium-term but not intractable problem. It is the pressure for cultivable land, coffee and tea plantations (which already exist but in a degraded state) and annual cropping that is the major uncertainty for the future. What can be done to head off the threat?

Arguably the Usambaras present an opportunity to combine forest preservation with catchment protection and resource utilization. It is clear that no single strategy can provide the whole answer; it will have to be a mixture of several activities, among which the most obvious are :

total protection and enforcement of forest reserve status on the more rugged parts to prevent gross erosion, and certain core areas to act as gene pools;

village-centred and village-planned development activities; to promote rational utilisation of the forest and/or to provide alternative income sources from occupations such as dairying, fruit, village industry etc; rehabilitation of existing tea estates and their improved management; to provide remunerative job opportunities on land that is already alienated from the forest, and to encourage some of the spice cultivators back into forest clearings;

communication, training and education, especially in the vital role of forests; the interactions between vegetation, drought and floods; and the idea that conservation need not mean throwing a fence around the forest and shooting trespassers.

These are heady challenges. Nevertheless, in response to the catalogue of repeated failures in agricultural development, the EEC has agreed to fund a first phase of conservation and development activities in the East Usambaras. It remains to be seen whether they will succeed because the inter linkages in the natural environment are complicated enough, but when combined with land utilisation they become like the proverbial plate of spaghetti – tangled and apparently endless. However, a start will be made on a pilot project basis to test the various options, to learn-by doing on a small scale and to lay the basis for deciding how to exploit and preserve the forest while protecting the catchment and the surrounding plains from the vagaries of an unkind climate, droughts and floods.
Michael Stocking

Dr. MICHAEL STOCKLING is a soil scientist in the Overseas Development Group, University of East Anglia, working mainly on soil conservation, agricultural development for small farmers, and soil fertility and productivity

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THE GROUNDNUT SCHEME – ’40 MINUTES AND 40 YEARS ON’

“NUTS”- BBC2 TELEVISION
(March 27th 1986)

To someone (like me) who served as a District Officer in the Western Province of Tanganyika from 1948-50, in the Nzega Kahama and Kasulu Districts, this evocative programme aroused a bitter-sweet nostalgia, as memories of a long forgotten dream came flooding back. A dream which began on the first Colonial Service Course at Oxford to be held after World War II when the austere post-war Labour Government inspired a battered Britain, freezing, short of coal, clothes and food to a bright vision of a great self-governing Commonwealth of free Nations, economically interdependent, basking in the reflected glory of the British Crown.

Our mentors at Oxford elaborated on the speeches at Westminster and the ‘leaders’ in the ‘Times’; benevolent Britain would invest the then enormous sum of £30 million (equivalent to £300 million at today’s prices) into clearing 3 million acres of tsetse infested bush in the Central, Western and Southern Provinces of Tanganyika, which would then be planted with enough groundnuts to provide vegetable fats like margarine for the people of the United Kingdom – if not Europe and the world – to the mutual benefit of all! Useful spin-offs would be the eradication of the tsetse fly and the mosquito with the consequent reduction in sleeping sickness, Trypanosomiasis and malaria, the employment and ultimate resettlement of thousands of Tanganyikans and the provision of schools, hospitals, plus the usual infrastructure of roads, railways, ports, telecommunications and so on.

Clement Attlee, Stafford Cripps, John Strachey and Arthur Creech Jones were the heroes of the hour, if not the villains of the piece! We were proud indeed to be sailing for Tanganyika where such a splendid scheme was being launched, supervised by an impressive array of agricultural experts and scientists.

In Tanganyika itself it was a different story. The long-suffering professional Colonial Service Officers, many of whom had spent the entire war without home leave, trying to run the whole Government machine on £4,000,000 a year were resentful and suspicious of the “whole crazy Whitehall scheme”, superimposed by a Government in London with little or no local consultation, bringing in its wake an army of “highly paid helpers” and many Senior Officers, most of whom had little or no knowledge of the country or its language and still less farming skills.

This TV programme, though inevitably made up of somewhat uneven and disjointed sequences of old film and survivors, nonetheless did succeed to a “large extent in recapturing the extraordinary atmosphere of hope and despair, rumour and confusion, cultural conflict, disappointment, political intrigue and lies which reigned supreme. A night stop at Urambo station remains in my memory where a noisy drunken rabble of workers, prostitutes and hangers-on swarmed along the platform in the moonlight like a scene from a 19th Century gold rush. “Panda Mali Kufa Kwaja!”

The ghastly Beehive brandy which we drank as a last resort stirred old memories as did the swimming pool in the bush with the old fashioned costumes which reminded me of pleasant swims in the dams of Nzega District with Peter and Rachel Bleackley. It was good to see Tom Unwin suitably dressed for the bush reminiscing in his inimitable style. But the dream faded and eventually became a joke.

We were given the basic facts. The second year (1949) target for land clearing – 450,000 acres; land cleared 227,000. Target for production of groundnuts 58,500 tons; actually produced 2,500 tons or 4%. One case quoted was of 3,000 acres planted in 3 days at the rate of 112 lbs of seed per acre; the harvest averaged 82 lbs per acre! And we were given the reasons for the failure – bad management, inexperience, unsuitable equipment, very abrasive soils and lack of rain.

Randal Sadleir
Dr. RANDAL SADLEIR was a District Commissioner in Tanzania and later founded the Swahili newspapers “Baragumu” and “Mwangaza”. He is now with the “Cancer Research Campaign”

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AND A CANADIAN AIDED WHEAT SCHEME

If one were to judge by an extract from a recent article in “Links” magazine published by “Third World First” sent to us by a reader of the Bulletin, it would seem that Tanzania is facing something similar to the Groundnut Scheme but this time with wheat. The article is critical of a number of large-scale agri-business type food production projects underway in, for example, Mozambique, Mali and Senegal. About Tanzania, the author , Colin Hines, writes:

“In Tanzania a Canadian aided wheat scheme is causing even greater concern. Since it began in 1970, Canada has committed $44 million to the project with the hope that the Tanzanian Government will be able to run it independently in the foreseeable future. Yet the prospect of that is nil. In addition, $1.5 million was spent on equipment for each of the six farms in the Hanang district (totalling 60,000 acres).
“The land for the wheat schemes was taken from the Barabaig, a pastoral people who both occupied and grazed their cattle on the land. They have now been forced to overgraze on the surrounding land. The schemes themselves are far too intensive for the area, and a report on Agricultural and Livestock Production in Arusha Region noted with alarm that the technology being applied to these large scale fully mechanised operations is alarmingly similar to the technology used in western Canada which contributed to the catastrophic soil erosion (dust bowls) of the 1930s.

“The farms are laid out prairie style with no allowance for tropical downpours. Erosion is already severe as huge gullies cut through the fields – indeed £22,000 was spent on one farm trying to fill such a gully, without success. This catalogue of disasters might be excusable if the schemes were at least producing wheat on a comparable scale. In fact, Tanzania is now estimated to be producing less wheat than when the project began, and any prospects of even sustaining production without massive inputs are bleak.”

We asked the Canadian High Commission if they would like to comment. We received a telex in reply, extracts from which are as follows:

“ARTICLE BELITTLES OUTPUT OF WHEAT FARMS. CANADIAN-TANZANIAN WHEAT PROGRAM NOW AVERAGES APPROX 40,000 TONS OF WHEAT ANNUALLY, ENOUGH TO PRODUCE 180 MILLION LOAVES OF BREAD A YEAR. TOTAL ANNUAL PRODUCTION FROM THESE WHEAT FARMS HAS DOUBLED SINCE 1979. IN 1985 THEY PRODUCED 46,500 TONS Of WHEAT OR 75% OF TANZANIA’S DOMESTIC WHEAT PRODUCTION. ON AVERAGE TANZANIAN WHEAT FARMS HAVE PRODUCED AT LEVELS COMPARABLE TO WESTERN CANADA AND IN 1985 TANZANIAN WHEAT FARMS BETTERED PER ACRE YIELDS IN WESTERN CANADA DESPITE NOT USING FERTILIZER. WHILE TANZANIA AS A WHOLE IS PRODUCING LESS WHEAT THAN BEFORE, REASON IS LARGELY EMIGRATION Of EXPATRIATE WHEAT FARMERS. CANADIAN=TANZANIAN WHEAT PROGRAM HAS IN FACT COMPENSATED FOR DROPS IN PRODUCTION IN OTHER AREAS OF COUNTRY. MOREOVER, BEFORE, ONLY SUBSISTENCE FARMING CONTRIBUTING LITTLE TO TANZANIA’S AGGREGATE FOOD PRODUCTION EXISTED WHERE WHEAT FARMS ARE NOW. INCOMPARABLY MORE TANZANIANS ARE NOW BEING FED THROUGH THE WHEAT FARMS THAN WAS CASE WITH RELATIVELY FEW CATTLE THAT WERE PREVIOUSLY THERE AND WERE DISPLACED.

MISLEADING FOR ARTICLE TO SUBMIT THAT DISPLACEMENT Of BARABAIG HAS LED TO OVERGRAZING IN SURROUNDING AREAS. IRONIC THAT WHILE WESTERN FARMERS CRITICIZED FOR RAISING CATTLE WHERE GRAIN COULD BE GROWN, IN TANZANIA – WHERE NEED FOR FOOD MUCH MORE CRITICAL – TANZANIA/ CANADA CRITICIZED FOR GROWING GRAIN WHERE BARABAIG CATTLE ONCE GRAZED.

ARTICLE LAMBASTS MECHANIZED AGRIC AS INAPPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY BUT ONLY PRACTICAL WAY TO PRODUCE WHEAT IN THIS REGION Of TANZANIA IS THROUGH MECHANIZATION. OX-POWER SIMPLY COULD NOT PLOUGH AND PLANT ENOUGH ACRES IN THE SHORT SEASON TO MAKE IT WORTHWHILE.

ARTICLE UNFAIRLY IMPLIES THAT CANADA SOMEHOW IMPOSED WHEAT AND WHEAT PROJECT ON TANZANIA. IN FACT WHEAT HAS INCREASINGLY BEEN STAPLE FOOD SINCE 1940s. FARMS FIRST CONCEIVED AND DESIGNED BY TANZANIAN GOVERNMENT WHICH THEN EXPLICITLY ASKED FOR ASSISTANCE FROM CANADIAN GOVERNMENT. TANZANIAN GOVERNMENT PLACES HIGH PRIORITY ON SELF-SUFFICIENCY IN FOOD PRODUCTION, WITH TANZANIA-CANADA WHEAT PROGRAM AS ITS CENTREPIECE.

ARTICLE MAINTAINS THAT PROSPECT OF TANZANIAN GOVT BEING ABLE TO RUN WHEAT FARMS INDEPENDENTLY IS NIL. WHILE AT PRESENT THERE IS DECIDED CANADIAN PRESENCE ON FARMS, AFTER ONLY DECADE AND HALF OF CANADIAN ASSISTANCE TO TANZANIA ALL MANAGEMENT DECISIONS NOW BEING MADE BY TANZANIANS. PART OF REASON IS THAT TRAINING PROGRAM HAS GENERATED SIGNIFICANT CONTINGENT OF WELL-TRAINED TANZANIANS.

ARTICLE POSITS THAI ANY PROSPECT OF EVEN SUSTAINING PRODUCTION WITHOUT MASSIVE INPUTS FROM ABROAD ARE BLEAK, BUT HANANG FARM COMPLEX NOW PROFITABLE AND IN FINANCIAL POSITION TO PAY FOR OWN EQUIPMENT AND SPARE PARTS IN TANZANIAN SHILLINGS. FOREIGN EXCHANGE SHORTAGE IS REFLECTION OF MACRO ECONOMIC SITUATION IN COUNTRY. ARTICLE DOES NOT MENTION HUGE IMPACT OF WORSENING ECONOMIC CONDITIONS IN TANZANIA AND THROUGHOUT AFRICA IND THIRD WORLD, AFFECTING IN PARTICULAR COSTS OF INPUTS SUCH AS FUEL AND SPARE PARTS.

RE: ARTICLE’S CLAIMS ABOUT EROSION PROBLEM ON WHEAT FARMS, INITIAL PROBLEMS ALMOST INVITABLE WHEN PIONEERING AN AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT. HAVE SINCE MADE ADJUSTMENTS. WHEAT PROGRAMS RESEARCH COMPONENT NOW HAS SOIL MANAGEMENT SECTION. RESULT IS PROPER GRASS STRIPS IN CONTOUR HAVE BEEN INSTALLED ON TWO MOST-RECENTLY DEVELOPED FARMS, AND SIMILAR EROSION CONTROL FEATURES BEING ELABORATED FOR OLDER FARMS AS WELL. HEAVY EMPHASIS HAS ALWAYS BEEN PLACED ON DEVELOPMENT OF MINIMUM TILLAGE METHODS IN SUPPORT OF SOIL PROTECTION AND WATER CONSERVATION. FURTHER THRUST TOWARDS BETTER SOIL CONSERVATION PRACTICES BEING PROMOTED BY CROP MANAGEMENT SECTION. DEVOTING MORE AND MORE ATTENTION TO FINDING ALTERNATIVE CROPS IN ORDER TO EXPLORE ALTERNATIVES TO MONO-CROPPING WHEAT.

IN LIGHT OF THESE ADJUSTMENTS OBJECT TO ARTICLE MAKING ANALOGY BETWEEN TANZANIAN WHEAT FARMS AND WESTERN CANADA DUST BOWL OF 1930s. SUBSEQUENT HALF CENTURY HAS REVOLUTONIZED FARM PRACTICES AND THESE IMPROVED TECHNIQUES ARE BEING ADAPTED TO TANZANIA.”

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THE FUNDAMENTAL ISSUE

The fundamental issue of agricultural policy in Tanzania has always been to reconcile two potentially contradictory needs: (a) to generate sufficient surplus food to feed the towns and any plantation labour forces (eg sisal estates) ; (b) to produce sufficient export crops to earn essential foreign exchange. It is seldom that both objectives have been achieved simultaneously. When the emphasis has been put on self-sufficiency in food, then cash crops like cotton or cashewnuts have declined. But if the prices paid for food crops are too low, or the prices paid for cash crops too high, then food surpluses dry up.

The difficulty in feeding the towns is that farmers do not have to sell their food. They can also eat it, or store it, or let their friends have it in small quantities. It is for this reason that cooperatives or marketing boards have never succeeded in the food crops sector. They either offer prices that are too low (and the farmers find other ways of taking their crops to town), or they offer prices that are too high (and the coops get landed with large unsaleable surpluses).

Recent years have reinforced this lesson. Marketing Boards, Crop Authorities and food crop cooperatives are all expensive failures.

But there are things the Government can do. By far the most important is to maintain the road system and the railway network, and to make sure diesel is available up- country. Without transport the towns cannot be fed, especially Dar es Salaam and Dodoma (neither of which have reliable sources of food nearby).

The Government must also make available the basic consumer goods that Tanzanians want to buy – hoes, axes, pangas, ploughs; khangas and others textiles; bati and cement, shoes and cooking utensils, soap and oil, basic drugs for humans and animals. Many other items will be produced by craft industries (baskets, tables, chairs, beds, buckets, doors, ox-carts, boats). Factories exist to make most of the basic consumer goods, but they are running at very low capacity. It should be a priority to get these factories running to capacity, especially those that use little foreign exchange. It is better to have a few factories working at 80-100% capacity, rather than a large number working at 20%.

Even this will require some foreign exchange, and this is also needed for crude oil purchases, spare parts for engines and pumps, and repayments of loans. Tanzania has to export coffee, tea, cotton, sisal, tobacco and cashewnuts. But in recent years prices have made several of these barely profitable. Cashewnuts is the classic case: production has declined substantially. Some of the trees were cut down, some burnt, some are covered with vines or climbing plants. But most of the trees are still there. If the price was right, then in a good year production would probably be over 100,000 tonnes. But to get prices right probably means (a) devaluation (b) forgetting about most of the inefficient processing factories and (c) improving transport and roads.

In the case of coffee, the problem is to prevent the beans being smuggled abroad. Cotton is the crop most directly competitive with food crops. In the Eastern (coastal) zone there are many reasons why it is better to encourage food production. In the Lake area, cotton will be grown if the price is sufficiently high.

In summary the problem for the Government is to set export crop prices high enough to earn foreign exchange, while not so high as to cause a shortage of food. The Government will also have to decide its wages policy. If it devalues but at the same time raises wages, this could easily cause inflation, ie there could be more money in people’s pockets than there are goods for them to buy.

The solutions are therefore (a) to expand availability of consumer goods, but also (b) to raise wages only slightly and certainly not as much as the devaluation. Wage levels could be raised more if fewer were employed. The ideal would be for parastatals and Government to produce increased output of goods and services with fewer employed; while those released produced extra goods and services in the private sector or on their own account. This could be done with a vigorous removal of waste, concentration on essentials and closure of non-essentials, with priority for industries that use minimal foreign exchange. If Tanzania could achieve this, it would for the time being have solved the fundamental problem of economic management. Andrew Coulson

Dr. ANDREW COULSON is a Lecturer at the Institute of Local Government Studies at the University of Birmingham.

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