Tanzania’s economy depends signi ficantly on the growth of its agricultural sector that accounts for half of the national income and three quarters of the merchandise exports in the country. Approximately 80% of Tanzanians are employed in the agriculture sector. In line with the Government’s Kilimo Kwanza (Agriculture First) Policy, MeTL is a major player in the country’s commercial agricultural sector, contributing further to national development.
MeTL has invested in acquiring a total of 47,000 hectares of dilapidated sisal farms and tea estates in different regions of Tanzania and has successfully revived these farms into active commercial agriculture centres. Essential infrastructure such as staff housing, labor camps, access roads, schooling and dispensary facilities have been established on all our farms. Other requirements such as utility vehicles and farming equipment are regularly replaced on each farm.
Our agricultural development activity provides employment for more than 5,000 people during the peak season and we endeavor to impart skills through our experts on the field to improve the knowledge of the labor force we hire. Currently MeTL primarily cultivates sisal and tea as major crops. We have extended our agro-product range to grow cotton and cashew on our sisal estates and cinchona and eucalyptus on our tea estates.
- MeTL produces approximately 8,000 tons of sisal fiber a year from six plantations located in Tanga, Kilimanjaro, Morogoro and Coast regions.
- MeTL currently holds 10,000 hectares of standing sisal crop, 80% of which are in mature sisal plantations.
- We envisage doubling our land capacity to produce 16,000 - 20,000 tons of sisal fiber to meet domestic and export demand.
- The bulk of fiber produced at our sisal estates is used for value addition by our sisal bag manufacturing company and our sisal-spinning mill (refer to Agro Processing page). The excess is then mainly exported to markets in the Middle East, Europe, Nigeria and India. New investment opportunities on MeTL sisal estates for expansion of sisal and diversification to other crops in the fallow lands are available.
- Annual rain-fed food crops and irrigated cash crops can be grown on a commercial scale for domestic value addition and for export. MeTL has ready, well-researched feasibility studies for crops such as oil palm, cotton and cassava. Sisal waste biogas for electricity generation is an attractive investment opportunity.
- MeTL now has seven decorticators capable of producing six to 12 mega watts of energy. An approximate USD two million investment is required to commission each centre to produce one mega-watt of power from freely available raw material.
- MeTL produces approximately four million kilos of tea annually and anticipates to double its production over the next few years.
- Currently MeTL has five tea estates in two different regions with 2,350 hectares of planted tea. These plantations are a recent acquisition by MeTL and have now been fully refurbished.
- Three tea factories have been refurbished with a capacity of four lines of CTC machinery and one line of orthodox tea machinery. These are located at Arc Mountain, Dindira (Korogwe District) and Chivanjee (Rungwe District).
- A more recent development involves the revival of two factories to improve green leaf tea production – one at Balangai (Lushoto District) and the other at Musekera (Rungwe District).
Our tea plantations are fully operational with a regular pruning cycle, fertilizer regime and appropriate weed control. We are also in filling the gaps in the tea fields and extending the propagated tea areas to further increase the yield on green leaf production.
We have also developed a mutually beneficial relationship with small holders in neighboring areas to purchase their green leaf for processing. We are now expanding into the specialty tea market to manufacture green tea and produce blended packet tea.
Cotton, Cashews and Palm Oil
In order to facilitate forward integration with our textile mills, cashew processing plant and edible oil refinery (refer to Manufacturing pages), we are investing into acquiring additional land for the large-scale cultivation of cotton, cashew nuts and oil palm. We are also developing our currently available fallow land to increase production capacity.