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Agriculture in Tanzania

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A map showing the eleven agriculture crop distribution in Tanzania.
A map showing the eleven agriculture crop distribution in Tanzania.

Agriculture is the main part of Tanzania's economy.[1] As of 2016, Tanzania had over 44 million hectares of arable land with only 33 percent of this amount in cultivation. Almost 70 percent of the poor population live in rural areas,[2] and almost all of them are involved in the farming sector.[3] Land is a vital asset in ensuring food security, and among the nine main food crops in Tanzania are maize, sorghum, millet, rice, wheat, beans, cassava, potatoes, and bananas. The agricultural industry makes a large contribution to the country's foreign exchange earnings, with more than US$1 billion in earnings from cash crop exports.[4]

The 6 main cash crops are cashew nuts, coffee, cotton, sisal, tea and tobacco.[5] At one point in its agricultural history, Tanzania was the largest producer of sisal in the world.[6]

The agriculture sector faces various challenges and had been the governments top priority to develop to reduce poverty and increase productivity.[7] Farming efficiently has been a challenge for many farmers, and lack of finances and farming education has caused many to remain subsistence farmers. Farm sizes remain very small with an average plot size being around 2.5 ha.[8]

Challenges on the agriculture industry of Tanzania include climate change and the resulting droughts, floods, and agriculture temperature shocks and a lack of agricultural technology.[9] These pose severe challenges to the living standards of most of people involved in the agriculture industry in Tanzania and create huge increases in unemployment, hunger, malnutrition and starvation, and diseases rates.[10][11]

Large declines in commodity prices, decreased export revenues, increased trade and budget deficits all amount to hindering the growth of the country's gross domestic product (GDP). The Agriculture Industry in Tanzania represents 32.4 percent of GDP of Tanzania.[12]

Soil and topography

Tanzania has an area of 945,000 square kilometres (365,000 sq mi) with inland lakes covering 6 percent of that (59,000 square kilometres (23,000 sq mi)). The Great Rift Valley runs north to south and contains most of the country's lakes. The country is home to the highest point in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro, and the lowest point in the continent, Lake Tanganyika.[13]

Soil types vary drastically throughout the country. There are six main types of soil types in the country as follows;[14]

  1. Volcanic soils: predominantly in the northern highland regions.
  2. Sandy soils: predominantly in the coastal regions and used mainly for grazing.
  3. Granite/Gneiss soil: predominantly in the northern regions of Mwanza and Tabora.
  4. Red soils: predominantly in the central plateau, including the Dodoma Region.
  5. Ironstone soils: predominantly in the western regions like Kagera and Kigoma.
  6. Vertisol: called mbuga black soil, spread across most of the country.

In summary for the variety of soil types studies still do not indicate which type of soil suits best for farming of a cash crop or a food crop.[citation needed]


Tanzania produced in 2018:

  1. 5.9 million tons of maize;
  2. 5 million tons of cassava (12th largest producer in the world);
  3. 3.8 million tons of sweet potato (4th largest producer in the world, second only to China, Malawi and Nigeria);
  4. 3.4 million tons of banana (10th largest producer in the world, 13th adding plantain production);
  5. 3 million tons of rice;
  6. 3 million tons of sugarcane;
  7. 1.7 million tons of potato;
  8. 1.2 million tons of beans (6th largest producer in the world);
  9. 940 thousand tons of peanut (7th largest producer in the world);
  10. 930 thousand tons of sunflower seed (12th largest producer in the world);
  11. 808 thousand tons of sorghum;
  12. 561 thousand tons of sesame seed (5th largest producer in the world, losing only to Sudan, Myanmar, India and Nigeria);
  13. 546 thousand tons of coconut (11th largest producer in the world);
  14. 454 thousand tons of mango (including mangosteen and guava);
  15. 389 thousand tons of pineapple;
  16. 373 thousand tons of orange;
  17. 356 thousand tons of tomato;
  18. 238 thousand tons of cotton;
  19. 171 thousand tons of cashew nuts (6th largest producer in the world);

In addition to smaller productions of other agricultural products, like tobacco (107 thousand tons, 8th largest producer in the world), coffee (55 thousand tons), tea (36 thousand tons) and sisal (33 thousand tons). [15]

Cash crops

Cash crops output since independence.
Cash crops output since independence.

Coffee production

Coffee is grown on a large scale on both estates and by smallholders that form co-operatives and involves over 400,000 farmers. Coffee has been grown in the country since the colonial times and is a major export crop, earning over 17 percent of the country's foreign exchange.[when?] Tanzania mainly grows the arabica type; however, small farms in the Kagera Region grow Robusta coffee. Tanzanian coffee is globally more commonly known as Kilimanjaro Coffee.[16]

Sisal production

Sisal plantation at Mt Uluguru in Tanzania.
Sisal plantation at Mt Uluguru in Tanzania.

Sisal was brought to Tanzania from Mexico by the German East Africa Company in the late 19th century. Sisal is grown in the northern regions of the country, such as Tanga and Kilimanjaro. At the time of independence in 1961, Tanzania was the largest producer of sisal in the world. Sisal production continued to decline after the Ujamaa movement and the continued depreciation of world prices. In recent years, the government has tried to liberalize the sector to encourage growth and increase export revenues.[17]

Cashew production

Cashew production in Tanzania began towards the end of the British trusteeship of Tanganyika in the 1950s. In 2012, Tanzania was the world's eighth largest producer of cashews and the fourth largest in Africa.[18] Poor regulation and lack of reliable payments to farmers has plagued production. Cashew mainly grows in the southern regions of the country such as Mtwara and Lindi, and more than 90 percent of the nuts are exported in raw form. The raw nuts are mainly exported to India for processing due to a very small processing capacity domestically. The lack of domestic processing firms has cost the country vital foreign revenue and thousands of jobs. The Government has been struggling to find potential investors to revive the cashew processing industry.[19]

Food Crops

The 11 food crops grown in Tanzania are as below list;

  1. Bean
  2. Cassava
  3. Maize
  4. Millet
  5. Oil palm
  6. Potato
  7. Rice
  8. Sorghum
  9. Sugarcane
  10. Sunflower
  11. Wheat

Herbs, vegetables and spices in Tanzania

Herbs, vegetables and spices in Tanzania include in the list below;

  1. Cabbage
  2. Capsicum
  3. Carrot
  4. Clove
  5. Cinnamon
  6. Cucumber
  7. Garlic
  8. Mint
  9. Onion
  10. Pea
  11. Spinach

Fruits in Tanzania

Fruits in Tanzania include in the list below;

  1. Avocado
  2. Banana
  3. Coconut
  4. Clementine
  5. Guava
  6. Grape
  7. Jackfruit
  8. Lemon
  9. Lime
  10. Lychee
  11. Mangoe
  12. Orange
  13. Okra
  14. Passion fruit
  15. Papaya
  16. Pear
  17. Pineapple
  18. Tamarind
  19. Tomato
  20. Strawberry
  21. Watermelon


Main crop production

A woman manually irrigating crops during the day time.
A woman manually irrigating crops during the day time.
A man helping transport bags of rice manually outdoors during the day time.
A man helping transport bags of rice manually outdoors during the day time.

The ten non-cash crop production from 2013 as reported by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations as below table:[20]

Number Food Crop Area Harvested Yield Hg/Ha Production, 1000 tonnes
1 Casava 950,000 56,842 5,400
2 Maize 4,000,000 11,750 4,700
3 Sweet Potatoes 675,000 45,926 3,100
4 Sugar Cane 30,000 1,000,000 3,000
5 Rice, Paddy 900,000 20,889 1,880
6 Potatoes 175,000 74,286 1,300
7 Beans, dry 1,300,000 8,846 1,150
8 Sunflower seed 810,000 13,370 1,083
9 Sorghum 900,000 9,444 850
10 Groundnuts, with shell 740,000 10,608 785
Source: FAO

See also


  1. ^ "New Agriculturist: Country profile - Tanzania". Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  2. ^ "Rural population (% of total population) | Data". Retrieved 2017-10-31.
  3. ^ "Tanzania Agriculture". Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  4. ^ "OEC - Tanzania (TZA) Exports, Imports, and Trade Partners". Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  5. ^ "TANZANIA COFFEE INDUSTRY PROFILE". Tanzania Coffee Board. Tanzania Coffee Board. 2010. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  6. ^ "Tanzania Agriculture, Information about Agriculture in Tanzania". Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  7. ^ "Reducing poverty through Kilimo Kwanza" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-12-15. Retrieved 2016-03-11.
  8. ^ Gaddis, Isis. "Land of opportunity: Should Tanzania encourage more large-scale farming?". Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  9. ^ Mbiha, Emmanuel R.; Ashimogo, Gasper C. (2010), "Challenges and Opportunities of Organic Agriculture in Tanzania", Global Agro-Food Trade and Standards, Palgrave Macmillan UK, pp. 101–119, doi:10.1057/9780230281356_5, ISBN 978-1-349-36814-3, retrieved 2020-05-25
  10. ^ Gollin, Douglas; Goyal, Radhika (2017-01-12), "Agricultural Transformation in Tanzania", Tanzania, Oxford University Press, pp. 132–150, doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198704812.003.0006, ISBN 978-0-19-870481-2, retrieved 2020-05-25
  11. ^ Eswaran, H.; Virmani, S. M.; Spivey, L. D. (2015-10-26), "Sustainable Agriculture in Developing Countries: Constraints, Challenges, and Choices", Technologies for Sustainable Agriculture in the Tropics, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America, pp. 7–24, doi:10.2134/asaspecpub56.c2, ISBN 978-0-89118-322-8, retrieved 2020-05-30
  12. ^ "Tanzania. Poverty Report" (PDF).
  13. ^ "Tanzania". Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  14. ^ "Tanzania". Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  15. ^ Tanzania production in 2018, by FAO
  16. ^ "Tanzania's Coffee Sector: Constraints and Challenges in a Global Environment" (PDF). World Bank. June 2003. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  17. ^ "Sisal: The most useful plant you've never heard of". CNN. Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  18. ^ "Tanzania: Going nuts over cashew". African Business Magazine. Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  19. ^ "Tanzania's Cashew Sector: Constraints and Challenges in a Global Environment" (PDF). World Bank. June 2004. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  20. ^ "Tanzania Cereals Production - Open Data for Tanzania". Retrieved 11 March 2016.

External links

This page was last edited on 2 March 2021, at 19:46
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