Although Tanzania is capable of fulfilling the rice needs of entire East African Community (EAC) but the government, rice exporters and rice growers could not recognize the country’s export potential, EAC secretary general was quoted as saying at a meeting between business community members in Dares Salaam last week.
In the meeting the official said that rice is next most important staple food of Tanzania after maize and is the best source of employment, income and food security.
Tanzania is self sufficient enough in the rice production in EAC nations with over one million tons production annually.
However Tanzania still has lots of underutilized production capacity, he said and urged the private sector to show their interest in rice sector and make optimal use of potential. Tanzania is well known for its quality rice.
The EAC secretary general also said that small and medium scaled farmers with an average yield of 1.8 tons per hectares are the backbone of rice production in Tanzania. He said while the potential rice area is estimated at around 2-3 million hectares, only 720000 hectares is under use currently The government has been providing a number of large scale mechanized rice schemes especially for export but are not properly utilized, he adds.
He reminded that Tanzania’s rice shipments had been banned in Kenya and Uganda for being mixed up with low quality Pakistani rice. He warned the traders not to lose their reputation by engaging in such unscrupulous acts, He said he would take up the matter with relevant authorities and ensure the ban is lifted soon
USDA estimates Tanzania to produce around 1.386 million tons of rice, basis milled, and export around 30000 tons in MY 2014-15 (June 2014- May 2015).