DAR ES SALAAM, March 4 (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian authorities said on Wednesday a ban imposed on the importation of rice and other food crops has not been lifted.
"The ban on rice imports and other food crops is still in force," Deputy Minister for Agriculture Hussein Bashe said at a meeting on boosting rice production in the capital, Dodoma.
The government will continue to make sure that there are no imports of rice in the country to protect local farmers from a competitive market suffocated by cheap imports, he said.
"Tanzania is currently producing one million tonnes of rice annually and our strategy should focus on producing three to four million tonnes of rice annually," Bashe told the meeting.
He said strategies to boost production of rice in the country should entail heavy investment in irrigation farming and production of high quality seeds.
Rice is the second most cultivated food and commercial crop in Tanzania after maize, with a cultivated area of about 681,000 hectares, which represents 18 percent of the cultivated land.
However, yields are generally very low, at between one and one and a half tonnes per hectare, due to the use of mostly traditional farming methods.