Tanzania's spice islands ban selling of raw cloves

2017-06-19 13:00:22 GMT2017-06-19 21:00:22(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

ARUSHA, Tanzania, June 19 (Xinhua) -- Tanzania's semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar has banned the selling of raw cloves ahead of the harvest season that is expected to start next month.

For more than 150 years, cloves have been a major export crop of Zanzibar, which is one of the world's major suppliers of cloves.

Amina Salum Ali, Zanzibar's Trade, Industry and Marketing minister, on Monday expressed her dismay over the increasing tendencies by farmers of selling the crop when it is still raw to unscrupulous smugglers, a move that denies the government its revenues.

The minister called for farmers to sell the crop to the Zanzibar State Trade Cooperation (ZSTC) and threatened stern measures against those selling the crop against the law.

"Our aim is to ensure that cloves harvested in Zanzibar are exported through proper channels ... we're determined to plug all the loopholes that lead to smuggling," she said.

Cloves are the aromatic flower buds of a tree in the family Myrtaceae, Syzygium aromaticum. They are commonly used as a spice.

Clove industry in Zanzibar was established through large plantations run with slave labor and has been progressively fragmented into smaller holdings. In recent years, the industry has faced recurring problems including tree diseases and aging tree populations.

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