Adam Malima, Deputy Minister for Agriculture Food Security and Cooperatives
The government plans to establish research on olive production in order to identify whether the crop can grow locally, the Deputy Minister for Agriculture Food Security and Cooperatives, Adam Malima has said.
Speaking in Dodoma last week, he said Tanzania has temperate weather, subtropical and tropical areas which allow production of the crop.
African countries which grow olives are South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt.
He said there are private investors who have been investing in subtropical areas after looking at the indicators which support production of olive.
"There is no reason to make us believe that this crop cannot grow in subtropical areas like our country," he said.
Malima invited research organisations which have shown interest to develop the crop to sit with the government and look at how to sensitise farmers.
He said olive oil plays a crucial role in health of human beings because it minimizes heart problems and cancer.
According to him, the government has already imported germplasm collection of various olive seedlings which have been reserved at the gene bank in Arusha R egion.
Experts have urged Tanzania to invest more in olive farming because it is a good source of income.
They asked government to emulate South Africa which has been enjoying a growth spurt.
According to Wayne Rubidge from South Africa, olive farming is one of the fastest growing activities in South Africa's agricultural sector.
Demand from foreign markets is causing an upward swing in production due to low European production and the quality of South African olive oil; import tariffs are also expected to boost local olive oil production.
"About 68 percent of South Africa's olive consumption comes from mostly inferior European products, and with the general world shortage, the olive index is up by a massive 50 percent," he said.
The country generally has small olive oil consumption patterns, despite its long tradition of olive growing.
In contrast to traditional olive oil consuming countries, where per capita consumption of olive oil ranges between 12 to 36 litres, the average South African consumes a mere 80 millilitres - 0.08 litres - per annum," he said.
For his part, the Mji Mkongwe legislator, Ibrahim Sanya, asked whether the government has done a research to see the importance of olive oil in the economy.
He said Tanzania has vast area suitable for olive production which is sold at high prices in the world market.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN