Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) has produced and distributed over 3 million Tenera hybrid palm oil variety seedlings to farmers based in Kigoma and other regions involved in cultivation of palm products in the country.
The Director General of TARI Dr Geofrey Nkamilo made the revelation here noting that seedlings were disseminated to six Kigoma region district councils and other regions with the aim of boosting palm oil production in the country.
"The aim of producing and distributing the hybrid variety seedlings is to ensure farmers rely on the use of the variety (Tenera) that yields far more oil than locally dura variety that most farmers used to plant," he said.
The Tenera variety seedlings according to TARI stands a better chance to produce eight to nine tonnes of oil per hectare compared to dura variety that produces 1.6 tonnes per hectare.
The cultivation of the palm oil using the Tenera varieties and adhering to good practices will help the country produce enough oil and reduce edible oil import dependence.
Currently, the country has the capacity to produce 205,000 metric tonnes out of 570,000 required per year as the government spends 443bn/- in importing the rest 365,000 tonnes to fit the requirements.
He said that in order for the country to be able to produce the required amount of the oil, the research institute has established oil palm nurseries in Naliendele in Mtwara, Kilosa Morogoro, Ilonga and Kyela district in Mbeya.
He said that TARI is also in the process of establishing more nurseries to produce the Tenera variety seedlings in Tanganyika District in Katavi Region, Sumbawanga and Tabora.
"The aim is to produce as many Tenera variety seedlings as possible to ensure each seedlings reach each and every farmer to cultivate and produce the palm oil for our country and requirements as well as for commercial purposes," he said.
Dr Nkamilo said the plan of producing and distributing the Tenera variety seedlings to farmers was the government's directives to the Ministry of Agriculture to boost palm oil production in the country and reduce edible oil import dependence.
He said the strategy implemented under government cost if succeeded will help the country abstain from importing edible oil.
TARI is also researching and producing improved seedlings of sunflower, sesame and groundnut oil plants to boost the production of oil for the country consumption and commercial purposes