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Tanzania farmers get a better deal

The Tanzania Cotton Board (TCB) is working on increasing value chains in the sector and empowering farmers to process cotton themselves in a bid to increase their revenues. Under the new system, cotton growers will reap the fruits of value addition. Currently ginners are the ones who enjoy the lion’s share of cotton profits making double income, because more than fiber they also earn from oil extracted from cotton seeds.

Ginners buy cotton seeds from farmers and they extract oil from cotton seeds and oilcake which they sell and obtain a lot of money compared to farmers. TCB is now working towards empowering farmers so that they can process their cotton and benefit from selling both cotton and its seeds.

The major markets for cotton from Tanzania are Indonesia, Thailand, India, China and Madagascar. The TCB has formed various associations in regions where the system is being implemented to simplify the process of obtaining loans and farm implements such as pesticides. It has launched a registration book for all farmers.

Cotton production levels are dwindling so much that several textile factories have stopped operations due to insufficient supplies. Farmers who are under the contract farming system have received financial support from Cotton Development Trust Fund.