Tanzania is now working closely with Uganda to study best practices that will help boost production of edible oil seeds going by Kampala’s success in producing palm oil.
Last week, Tanzania’s Agriculture minister Adolf Mkenda was in Kampala on a study tour for the same.
Prof Mkenda was accompanied by senior agricultural officials from key agricultural regions including Kigoma, which produces palm oil seeds.
Prof Mkenda held discussions with the Ugandan Minister for Agriculture Frank Tumwebaze and agreed to cooperate in oil seeds production, marketing and agricultural research.
The minister said Tanzania was planning to increase production of improved sunflower seeds, groundnuts, oil palm and sesame, with an increased budget for extension and research services.
Tanzania produces 205,000 tonnes of cooking oil a year through oil seeds against a demand of 570,000 tonnes.
The deficit is imported from Malaysia, India, Singapore and Indonesia at a cost of $204.7 million per year.
Shortage of edible oil has pushed retail prices from $1.3 to $2.8 per litre.
The Ministry of Agriculture has in the 2021/2022 budget increased the allocation for extension services to $5 million to strengthen agricultural production with a focus on oil seeds crops.
The major crops for edible oil production in Tanzania are sunflower, palm oil, groundnuts, sesame, soya beans and cotton.
The Sunflower Oil Processors Association said it is facing a shortage of 1.4 million tonnes to effectively meet the gap for edible oil in Tanzania. Chairman Ringo Iringo said the current production capacity of smallholder farmers is only 352,908 tonnes against the actual demand of 1.72 million tonnes per year by processing industries.
Demand for edible oil could increase from the current 500,000 tonnes per year to 700,000 tonnes by 2030, the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) said in its latest report.