AGRICULTURE and FORESTRY

PRIVATISATION OF COFFEE RESEARCH, FORESTRY AND BEEKEEPING
The country’s only coffee research institute, Lyamungo Agricultural Research and Training Institute (LARTI) in Moshi, has been privatised and renamed ‘The Tanzania Coffee Research Institute’ (TACRI). Sources in Moshi quoted in the Guardian (October 19) said that, following the Government’s decision to relinquish direct running of the institute, a new management team under former Minister for Finance, Edwin Mtei, had started afresh with a new team of researchers. These had replaced some 60 existing staff who had been distributed around other research stations. But many stakeholders, including coffee growers, expressed concern that this might bring to naught all the good work done in more than 60 years of research at Lyamungu.

The 2,000 employees of the Forestry and Beekeping Division of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism have been told that their Division will be transformed into an Executive Agency in 2003. They immediately demanded that they be paid their terminal benefits before the change is made -Guardian.

NEW PLANT VARIETIES
The Protection of New Plant Varieties (Plant Breeders’ Rights) Bill of 2002 which has established a ‘Registrar of Plant Breeders Rights’ and is aimed at encouraging competition in research and seed production and hence, hopefully, more easily affordable seed, came under attack from several MP’s. One asked whether this Bill would not become an umbrella to defend the interests of international seed companies after the collapse of Tanzania’s parastatal TANSEED Company. Another MP said it was dangerous to depend totally on foreign seed companies. One MP asked the Government to act as a guarantor to researchers to enable them to access credit for their research from banks. Another complained that the Bill was not understandable.

PRESERVING AFRICAN BLACKWOOD
The Arusha Times (2nd November) reported that Tanzanian botanist Sebastian Chuwa had been chosen as an Associate Laureate in the Rolex Awards for Enterprise Competition for 2002. He is a member of the African Blackwood Conservation Project. The Rolex Awards for Enterprise recognise ground-breaking projects in the areas of Technology, Science, the Environment, Exploration and Cultural Heritage. Each associate laureate receives $35,000 and a steel and gold Rolex chronometer. Sebastian Chuwa won his award for his work on the preservation of the African Blackwood.

TRANSPORTING FERTILISER
The Guardian reported on October 30th that the government was facing a possible loss of Shs 40 billion during the next agricultural season if no solution could be found to the problem of transportation of tobacco fertiliser. Tobacco Board General Director Clemence Kilala was quoted as saying that the Tanzania Railways Corporation had too few wagons to transport some 3,500 tons of fertilisers due to be sent to Tabora, Rukwa, Shinyanga, Singida and Kigoma and had to be received by not later than the third week of November. Tobacco is the 4th biggest crop in the country and creates substantial employment opportunities.

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