In Summary

A cassava is the starchy tuberous root of a shrubby, drought-resistance tropical tree native to tropical America. Today, it’s cultivated throughout the tropics for human food (84 per cent of total production). The remaining crop goes into industrial production of animal feed, alcohol-brewing, starch production and suchlike.

That cassava farming is gaining momentum in Kagera Region is very good news, indeed.

A cassava is the starchy tuberous root of a shrubby, drought-resistance tropical tree native to tropical America. Today, it’s cultivated throughout the tropics for human food (84 per cent of total production). The remaining crop goes into industrial production of animal feed, alcohol-brewing, starch production and suchlike.

The main cassava-producing regions in Tanzania are the Coast Region, Kigoma, Lindi, Mara, Mtwara, Mwanza, Ruvuma, Shinyanga, Tanga and Zanzibar – listed here strictly in alphabetical order!

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation Corporate Statistical Database, Tanzania produced 5.4 million tonnes of cassava in year-2012 – the world’s 12th largest producer, and the 6th largest in Africa after Nigeria, DRC, Ghana, Angola and Mozambique.

Now that Kagera Region has clambered aboard the ‘Cassava Bandwagon,’ it can only be for a good cause and effect for Tanzania – including boosting production and related ‘positives.’

As Kagera Region suffered two devastating blows in recent times – the 5.9-magnitude earthquake in 2016, and unpredictable price fluctuations for its export mainstay, Arabica coffee – cassava farming may yet prove to be the proverbial savior on the horizon!

Development partners the likes of UN’s FAO, the London-based Greenwich University, the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology are already providing ways and means of supporting the cassava industry to flourish. This includes enhancing cassava productivity from the current eight tonnes/hectare (8t/ha) to the full potential of 20t/ha, so as to meet demand, projected to reach 530,000-to-640,000 tonnes in the foreseeable future.

This’d also be in tune with the President Magufuli Administration’s industrialisation agenda. After all, cassava can fuel and boost industrial production of animal feed, beverages, sweets, snacks, starch, textiles, paper, hardboards, paints and pharmaceuticals.

So, we at The Citizen earnestly urge more regions to take up drought-resistant cassava farming in these days of global climate change and industrialisation…

Make way for solar energy

The world is increasingly turning to exploiting solar energy. Experts have it that many industrialised economies have installed significant solar power capacity into their electrical grids. Renewable energy is helping developing nations reduce their dependence on expensive imported fuels.

Globally, the leading players are: China (78.07 GW); Japan (42.75 GW); Germany (41.22 GW), United States (40.3 GW) and Italy (19.28 GW), as per 2016 statistics. Tanzania is also eying solar energy. Already, its largest solar power plant is under construction by a private investor in Kilosa District, Morogoro Region. A story published by The Citizen yesterday, showed that the project will start pumping electricity into the national grid by 2018-end-year.

This is a huge step towards increasing affordable clean energy sources in Tanzania. The potential is huge. This project should help attract more investments in the renewable energy sector.

The power purchase agreement reached between the investor and Tanzania’s power utility, Tanesco, should pave the way for more investors into the area. Meanwhile, as large investors are playing their part towards making Tanzania energy self-sufficient, it is crucial for smaller solar units to be imported into the country. The relevant authorities need to check on the quality of the items and affordability. Quality control is important to avoid turning Tanzania into a dumping place. Affordability will increase penetration in remote areas and so help protect the environment.