AGRICULTURE

Although the cotton buying season in Mwanza region began on June 24 and the crop promises to yield up to 325,000 bales compared with 280,000 bales during the last season, production per acre remains very low -between 250 and 300 kilos per acre. This compares with Zimbabwe which produced 850 to 1,200 kilos on similar land and Australia which was producing an average of 4,000 kilos per acre. Daily News writer Emmanuel Mwero writing on July 4 listed the many problems facing Tanzanian cotton farmers. They found it difficult to get high quality seeds and to obtain insecticides early in order to combat pests. The main problem, however, was the price. Last year it was between Shs 130 and Shs 200 per kilo but this year the highest price was Shs 140. Farmers were said to be demoralised and to be looking to grow alternative crops. The world price has gone down to 32 US cents per pound this year compared with 42 cents last year. In addition, among costs to be borne by farmers are the buying process (Shs 40 per kilo), bank charges (Shs 3), the cotton levy (Shs 10) the district levy (3% of the buying price), and the education levy (5%). Farmers had pointed out that this contrasted with the subsidies given to cotton farmers in other parts ofthe world.

Following a serious outbreak of Fusarium Wilt (Tracheomycosis) in coffee in the Kagera Region, Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Charles Keenja issued an order prohibiting all movement of coffee except where permission had been obtained from an agricultural officer or inspector. Coffee seedlings not resistant were also prohibited.

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