Tanzania's major industry, sisal production, is besieged by a series of rapid and painful setbacks.?
Tanzania's major industry, sisal production, is besieged by a series of rapid and painful setbacks. Tanzania was once the world's largest sisal producer accounting for over one third of the total world hard fibres production. The chief uses for sisal are ropes, agricultural twines, and the production of the drug cortisone. But starting in the mid-sixties, the industry began to feel the ever increasing effects of the emergence of synthetic fibres. Recently Mr. Austin Shaba, Chairman of the nation's sisal marketing board said in his annual report the production dropped to 202,108 tons in 1970 compared with 209,303 tons in 1969. The effects of the decline in production have been felt in Tanzania's labour market which fell from 30,358 to 22,007 during that period. The soaring costs of freight increases, port surcharges, and severe drought have added to the impact on the industry. Thus the present picture of sisal production, a vital part of Tanzania's economy, is a grim one.
SYNOPSIS: This is a field of sisal in Tanzania, once the worlds largest producer of the crop. In 1969 Tanzania accounted for over one-third of the total world hard fibres production. But times have changed and there have been many set-backs in sisal production. The chief end uses for sisal are ropes and agricultural twines and there are smaller quantities of fibre used in the production of bags, mats, and carpets Sisal is also a component of the newly used drug cortisone.
Among the chief reasons for the decline in sisal production is the ever increasing use of synthetics in fibre production. The effects on Tanzania's economy of synthetics was first felt in the mid-60's and it has been the main reason for the decline in export values and sales of sisal.
Other reason for the decline in sisal production include increased freight cost port surcharges, and a severe drought in the area. All of these features add up to a grim story for Tanzania's economy. The reduction in imports and the decline of the sisal industry has deprived the nation of revenues that it has long depended on. The effects of the set-backs on the industry has also been felt by the workers that raise and produce the natural fibres. The have been laid-off in increasing numbers, and future now is uncertain for an industry that was once the backbone for Tanzania's economy.