Tanzania & Cassava

In Tanzania cassava is a major subsistence crop, after maize, especially in Tanzania’s semi-arid areas where, due to its drought tolerance, cassava is sometimes considered a famine reserve when cereals fail.

Most of the cassava production of Tanzania (84%) is for human consumption, and the remainder is used for animal feed, alcohol brewing, and starch production.

Tanzania Cassava Production

Cassava production in Tanzania is estimated at 5.4m t according to the 2012 Food and Agriculture Organization Corporate Statistical Database (FAOSTAT).

In that year Tanzania was the 12th largest cassava producer in the world and the 6th largest in Africa after Nigeria (top producer in the word), DRC, Ghana, Angola and Mozambique.

Cassava productivity in Tanzania is only 8t/ha while the average sweet potato yield has been reported to be 4.5t/ha.

The main production areas of cassava in Tanzania are: Mwanza, Mtwara, Lindi, Shinyanga, Tanga Ruvuma, Mara Kigoma, the coastal regions and Zanzibar.

According to the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH), cassava production is well below its potential yield of 20t/ha.

Low yields arise because the majority of farmers use local varieties with low genetic potential and susceptibility to major diseases and insect pests.

Cassava Demand in Tanzania

A 2012 report titled “Driving demand for cassava in Tanzania: the next steps” by the University of Greenwich, analysed the future demand for cassava in Tanzania, and which sectors will drive the demand.

The report identified an estimated potential long-term requirement of between 530,000t and 640,000t of cassava root.

The following sectors have been identified as potential drivers of increased local cassava demand: milling, animal feed, beer and beverages, sweets, snacks, starch manufacture, textile factories, paper mills and hardboard, paint, and pharmaceuticals.

As a result, there is substantial potential demand for cassava-based products in Tanzania in the medium- to long-term.

Improvements In Tanzania’s Cassava Production

In 2012, the Tanzanian government, through COSTECH, funded a 4 year project titled “Improving Cassava Productivity and Utilisation in Tanzania”.

The purpose of the project was to enhance sustainable productivity and competitiveness of cassava in Tanzania through improved cassava production, marketing and utilization.

In particular the project sought to promote a wide use of quality planting materials of improved cassava varieties, foster value chain technologies and innovations for dried cassava peel and high quality cassava flour, develop and disseminate improved cassava varieties with dual resistance to Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD) and Cassava Mosaic Disease (CMD), and optimize cassava fertilizer requirement.

It was observed during the project implementation that cassava peel can also be used with sunflowers and other supplements to maximise milk production from livestock.

In March 2016, the Frederic and Jocelyne Scheer African Starsh Development Company Limited (FJS) announced that the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) has engaged to provide TZS 420 million to boost the cassava-processing factory in Tanzania’s western region.

The investment will be used to establish a cassava starch and flour plant, which will be able to produce approximately 1tn of cassava flour a day.

The production will be used for covering local and international demand, UNCDF Tanzania Head of Country, Mr. Peter Malika explained.