Tanzania is courting South African varietal imports to boost its wine production, boasting 1 696 grape farmers around the capital region of Dodoma where annual production was last recorded as 10 052 tonnes.
Cornel Masawe, head of the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (Tari), yesterday told Xinhua News Agency that his country’s viticulture industry was in the process of importing 13 new grape types from South Africa.
It is hoped that the variety of scions and root stocks from Africa’s biggest wine-producing country will revitalise Tanzania’s wine-producing sector, currently thought to be under-performing.
The varietals are both red and white, and their introduction into Tanzanian wine production will coincide with many interventions to increase cultivation of grapes within the country.
Although Dodomo previously held sway over Tanzania’s wine industry, production has also branched out to areas in close proximity such as Morogoro and Tabora.
Even further-flung areas to the north – Mwanza, Arusha, Kilimanjaro and Tanga on the coast north of Mombasa – have been identified as feasible grape-growing areas.
The Ruvuma region on Tanzania’s southern border with Mozambique, where liquid natural gas extraction is dominating growth, is included in Tari’s ambitions for expanding Tanzania’s wine producing sector.