TANZANIA Breweries Limited (TBL) partnership with barley farmers in the northern zone is a powerful instrument to increase output to meet country’s demand for barley, the Minister for Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries, Dr Charles Tizeba has said.
Statistics show that TBL requires 18,000 tons of barley annually while the farmers can only produce 10,000 tons, hence forcing the brewery to import the rest. Dr Tizeba said this on Tuesday after meeting some barley farmers in the northern zone, Emairete village in Monduli District, Arusha Region.
He commended TBL for empowering barley farmers in the northern zone through provision of farm inputs and reliable market. “I call upon TBL Group to collaborate with district councils where barley farming is practiced so as to empower farmers to increase production so that the government can essentially put a stop to importation of barley,” he said.
In 2016, TBL paid barley farmers in all production regions a total of 14.7bn/- from 12,700 tons produced, while this year they have lent 2.1bn/- to farmers for preparations of their farms as well as purchase of farm inputs.
The minister urged extension officers to put in place strategies that will enable farmers to benefit more from barley farming. On his part, Chairman of Barley Farmers Union, Mr Bariki Kivuyo said TBL empowers them with provision of seeds, expertise on how to take care of their farms as well as provision of insecticides and farm inputs.
“TBL’s investment in agriculture is a strategy that has helped many barley farmers who are now applying modern methods of agriculture something that has improved yields by far as they now harvest between 10 and 16 sacks per hectare unlike previously where they would get 5 sacks,” he said.
Adding that since they now have reliable market, their lives have improved as they have managed to build houses, take their children to school and purchase modern farm inputs.
He however pointed out some of the challenges they encounter as poor road infrastructures which end up costing them more when transporting their produce from the farms to the factory.
He called on the government to improve roads leading to huge plantations. “We request that levy that we pay to municipal council to be returned to villages with barley farms so as to encourage more farmers to take part in barley farming and essentially improve lives of many Tanzanians,” he said. By