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Tanzania MPs urge government to set special
budget for fighting destructive armyworms

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian Members of Parliament meeting in the capital Dodoma for the marathon budget session on Sunday urged the government to set aside a special budget for fighting destructive fall armyworms.

The MPs observed that the armyworms had already wreaked havoc in the east African nation and caused panic to famers, sparking fears of a looming hunger crisis.

Speaking at a seminar jointly organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Tropical Pesticides Research Institute (TPRI), the MPs said in addition to setting aside the special budget, the government should declare the fall-armyworms invasion a national disaster.

Livingstone Lusinde, the MP for Mtera constituency, said the pace at which the armyworms were spreading around the country was worrying and there was need for the government to take it as a matter of urgency.

“This is a disaster. Our farmers cannot fight the pests singlehandedly. We need to come up with a special budget to fight the armyworms before the situation is out of control,” said the lawmaker.

According to Maneno Chidege, a pest and pesticides management specialist with the TPRI, fall armyworms have caused a loss amounting to 13.4 million U.S. dollars since they entered the African continent.

Another MP, Susan Kiwanga from Mlimba constituency, also appealed to the government to set the special budget on emergency basis.

In his response, the Minister for Agriculture, Charles Tizeba, said the government was taking various measures to contain the armyworms, including educating farmers on steps to be taken in controlling the pests and distribution of pesticides to affected areas.

In January, this year, the government of Tanzania said it had supplied pesticides to southern highlands to control the armyworms that were destroying crops at an alarming rate in some parts of the country.

“The government is aware of the invasion of the armyworms in southern highland regions and efforts to contain them are in place,” said Beatus Malema, the acting director for crop development in the Ministry of Agriculture.

The southern highlands regions of Rukwa, Mbeya, Njombe and Iringa are the country’s bread basket, producing most of the food for about 54 million people.

Malema said the armyworms came into the country through Rukwa region in February last year, and entered the African continent through Ghana in 2016 from the United States and Brazil.

Last year, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization entered into two agreements worth 2 million U.S. dollars with Tanzanian government to boost surveillance of fall armyworms. 



Tanzania to import over 70,000 tonnes of sugar to fill shortfall

DAR ES SALAAM  Tanzania (Xinhua)-- The government of Tanzania has ordered importation of 70,354.35 tonnes of sugar to fill the deficit facing the east African nation, a senior official said on Sunday.

Charles Tizeba, the Minister for Agriculture, said 60,539.35 tonnes of sugar out of the consignment will arrive in the country next week, adding that the remaining 9,815 tonnes of the commodity will be imported in June.

“The sugar to be imported plus the sugar stored in warehouses will fill the deficit,” said Tizeba in the capital Dodoma.

He said the country’s demand for domestic sugar was 485,000 tonnes for domestic use and 145,000 tonnes for industrial use annually.

In May last year, Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa announced the importation of 131,000 tonnes of sugar to fill existing shortfall.

Majaliwa told the National Assembly that there was sugar deficit of 100,000 tonnes annually caused by poor production of the commodity.

He said only 320,000 tonnes of sugar were being produced by four local manufacturers annually against the east African nation’s annual demand of 420,000 tonnes. 

In February this year, the Sugar Board of Tanzania said the country planned to increase sugar production from the current 300,000 tonnes annually to 420,000 tonnes by 2020/2022.

Tanzania’s four sugar manufacturing factories are TPC in Kilimanjaro region, Kagera Sugar Limited in Kagera region, Mtibwa Sugar Limited and Kilombero Sugar Company in Morogoro region.


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