Explore and Understand Africa Through Her Food and Culture

If you like honey, fear not the bees. -African Proverb

Friday, June 25, 2010

Clove Farming in Zanzibar Tanzania a Government Monopoly

Clove buds photo by foam

Cloves are the aromatic flower buds of the tree Syzygium aromaticum. The word clove comes from the French clou meaning nail. The fruits are not eaten. Dried flower buds are used as a spice, and medicinally for countless things. The clove tree is a tropical tree which will not survive temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit or above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Soon after attaining independence from Britain, Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form the nation of Tanzania in 1964. The Spice Islands, Zanzibar in Tanzania was once the world's largest producer of cloves however the title now belongs to Indonesia and Madagascar. Farmers who produce cloves have seen dramatic price falls in recent times. In most Sub-Saharan African countries poverty is a rural phenomenon. Therefore, reducing poverty means first and foremost raising the incomes of farmers. Tanzanian farmers are only allowed to sell cloves to the government owned Zanzibar State Trading Corporation (ZSTC). If farmers attempt to sell outside of government center they can be arrested for smuggling.

The Zanzibar government made a decision to privatize the clove trade in 2007 stating “We cannot let the farming of cloves go into private hands because the commodity is the symbol of Zanzibar.” Zanzibar has enacted a law prohibiting anyone from transporting cloves without government permission and it is unlawful for anyone to make charcoal from clove trees. Under Zanzibar law, clove farmers can sell cloves to ZSTC only. Much of the harvest will end up exported by the government for use in cooking, medicines, cosmetics and of course the clove cigarettes beloved by Indonesians.

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The eye never forgets what the heart has seen - African Proverb

A tree without roots cannot survive the wind

A tree without roots cannot survive the wind
African Proverb