Tanzania - Agriculture

About 4% of the total land area is cultivated, with about twothirds belonging to farmers owning or operating farms of five ha (12.4 acres) or less. A massive collectivization and cooperative agricultural program was begun in 1967; by the end of 1980, 8,167 self-help villages, involving more than 14 million people, had been established. The program was coupled with the takeover of large estates.

The principal food crops are corn, millet, rice, sorghum, and pulses. The chief cash crops are coffee, cotton, and cashew nuts; sisal, cloves, sugar, tea, pyrethrum, and tobacco are also important. Tanzania is one of Africa's leading producers of sisal; in 1999, production was 24,000 tons. Other estimated agricultural production in 1999 included manioc, 7,182,000 tons; corn, 2,458,000 tons; sorghum, 561,000 tons; rice, 676,000 tons; and millet, 194,000 tons. Production in 1999 also included coffee, 47,000 tons; cotton, 31,000 tons; cashew nuts, 107,000 tons; tea, 25,000 tons; tobacco, 39,000 tons; sweet potatoes, 500,000 tons; white potatoes, 255,000 tons; and 74,000 tons of peanuts. Sugarcane production in that year was an estimated 1,355,000 tons; bananas and plantains, 752,000 tons each; dry beans, 255,000 tons; seed cotton, 105,000 tons; and cottonseed, 73,000 tons.

Tanzania was once the leading producer of cloves, which are grown mostly on Pemba; it is also an important producer of coconuts (350,000 tons in 1999), mostly from the island of Zanzibar. Production of copra was around 31,000 tons in 1999.

There was a steady decline in agricultural production during the late 1970s and early 1980s because of drought and low prices paid by the state crop-marketing agencies. In addition, there was a shortage of farm implements; only 3,000 of the nation's 10,000 tractors were in working order in 1982, and even hand hoes and oxen plows were in acute shortage. By 1998, there were some 7,600 tractors in service (down from 8,000 in 1985). Beginning in 1986, reforms of the cooperative unions and crop marketing boards have aided production. The purchase of crops (especially coffee, cotton, sisal, tea, and pyrethrum) has been opened to private traders.

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