Under government input subsidy policy, smallholder tea growers have since 2007/2008 year been receiving some funds for supporting them to raise improved planting materials through village based group nurseries. The programme’s basic objective is to facilitate farmers to infill and expand their tea fields and also support tea planting in new areas where tea cultivation is being introduced and promoted. The additional objective of this programme is to impart knowledge and skills on nursery management to tea growers with the view to enabling them to raise the plants on their own in the future.
From July 2007 to June 2010, the Government had committed a total of Tsh. 1.62 billion for supporting 6,621 beneficiaries through 447 farmer groups. Over the years, 25.9 plants were raised with the number of farmer groups and beneficiaries of the programme increasing from 88 to 218 and from 1184 to 3425 respectively. In the 2010/2011 budget, the Government has allocated Tsh. 700 million for supporting 173 farmer groups to raise 12.0 million plants. The programme activities which are coordinated by TSHTDA include provision of nursery group members with nursery materials such as polythene tubes, polythene sheets, watering cans, foot pumps (Money maker pumps), chemicals and expertise. In other words, TSHTDA provides the group members with the expertise and facilities which group members cannot easily access within their nursery vicinities. On the other side group members contribute their labour, the nursery sites and other materials that can be easily sourced within the nursery vicinities. Clonal cuttings for raising the vp plants are sources from the 12 TSHTDA managed mother bush sites and other sources on agreed terms with the sources.