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Cotton knocks doors in Dodoma – at Chemba

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    Cotton knocks doors in Dodoma
    Cotton firm

    Last updated: July 25th, 2019.

    A good number of farmers in Chemba District have taken the lead in welcoming cotton growing as a measure propagated by the government to establish a new cash crop for Dodoma Region.

    This follows research findings concluded last year in Bahi, Chamwino and Chemba districts confirming the presence of the suitable type of black soil that helped raise the economic status of other regions like Mwanza.

    Chemba District Director Dr Semistatus Mashimba told this newspaper that most farmers in the districts have shown big interest in the crop, dubbed ‘white gold’.

    Some of them have put as much as 15 acres of land under the crop against our initial recommendations of two.

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    He said a survey was currently being conducted to establish the actual number of farmers and acres planted with the crop for the sake of delivering proper extension services on good cotton growing practices.

    “Basically, we are not expecting very impressive results because this is our pilot season. It takes farmers a long time to come to grips with recommended agronomic practices, “Dr Mashimba pointed out.

    He hailed the Tanzania Cotton Board (TCB) and agricultural officers for conducting special training among farmers in the district.

    “It’s our hope that the training will continue along the production chain for better results.”

    Although cotton stands tall amid crucial crops for fast-tracking industrial pace in Tanzania, the sub- sector is underperforming due to various challenges.

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    During a high-level workshop of cotton stakeholders organised last year by the Agricultural Council of Tanzania (ACT), it was revealed that Tanzania has been blacklisted as a risk source of cotton in the world market due to poor quality of the country’s cotton, basically dirtiness.

    It was said that poor ginning technology and cheating among sellers constituted the major factors to poor performance of the cotton industry in Tanzania.

    ACT Director of Policy, Planning and Advocacy, Mr. Timoth Mmbaga, attributed this to poor supervision as well.

    “Tanzania even outsmarted Burkina Faso who are currently leading the continent’s cotton industry,” he stated.

    TCB Director General, Marco Mtunga, blamed this partly to the introduction of free market, whereby cotton farmers entered into contract farming with different local and foreign companies, denying the government chance to play the regulatory role.’

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    However, he said a new strategy had been put in place by the government for Tanzania’s the cotton industry to regain its glory in the global market.

    Statistics show that the cotton sector in the country is dominated by smallholder growers maintaining farms ranging between 0.5 and 5.0 hectares, yielding at least 550 to 750 kilogrammes

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